• IPA: /ˈmɛtəl/
    • (America) IPA: [ˈmɛ.ɾɫ̩]


  1. (heading) Chemical elements or alloys, and the mines where their ores come from.
    1. Any of a number of chemical elements in the periodic table that form a metallic bond with other metal atoms; generally shiny, somewhat malleable and hard, often a conductor of heat and electricity.
    2. Any material with similar physical properties, such as an alloy.
      • 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter 1, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., […], OCLC 752825175 ↗:
        But then I had the flintlock by me for protection. ¶ There were giants in the days when that gun was made; for surely no modern mortal could have held that mass of metal steady to his shoulder. The linen-press and a chest on the top of it formed, however, a very good gun-carriage; and, thus mounted, aim could be taken out of the window […].
    3. (astronomy) An element which was not directly created after the Big Bang but instead formed through nuclear reactions; any element other than hydrogen and helium.
      • 2003, Michael A. Seeds, Astronomy: The Solar System and Beyond, Thomson Brooks/Cole ISBN 9780534395377
        Most of the matter in stars is hydrogen and helium, and the metals (including carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and so on) were cooked up inside stars.
      • 2008, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Geochemical Society, Oxygen in the solar system, Mineralogical Society of Amer ISBN 9780939950805
        Thus, for the remaining elements, including oxygen, the solid phase appears to be important. In fact, at a metallicity of Z=0.02, and with a gas-to-dust ratio of 100, about half of the metals — including oxygen — are contained in the solid phase.
      • 2015, Alan Longstaff, Astrobiology: An Introduction, CRC Press ISBN 9781498728454, page 350
        Metals include oxygen and carbon which means that water and organic molecules would have been abundant in the early universe, perhaps paving the way for the emergence of life within a couple of billion years of the Big Bang.
    4. Crushed rock, stones etc. used to make a road.
    5. (mining) The ore from which a metal is derived.
    6. (obsolete) A mine from which ores are taken.
      • slaves […] and persons condemned to metals
  2. (tincture) A light tincture used in a coat of arms, specifically argent and or.
  3. Molten glass that is to be blown or moulded to form objects.
  4. (music) A category of rock music encompassing a number of genres (including thrash metal, death metal, heavy metal, etc.) characterized by strong drum-beats and distorted guitars.
  5. (archaic) The substance that constitutes something or someone; matter; hence, character or temper; mettle.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, Act 2 Scene 1:
      LEONATO. Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.
      BEATRICE. Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be over-mastered with a piece of valiant dust?
  6. The effective power or calibre of guns carried by a vessel of war.
  7. (UK, obsolete, in the plural) The rails of a railway.
  8. (informal, travel, aviation) The actual airline operating a flight, rather than any of the codeshare operators.
    We have American Airlines tickets, but it's on British Airways metal.
  • (any of a number of chemical elements in the periodic table that form a metallic bond with other metal atoms) nonmetal
Translations Translations Adjective


  1. (music) Characterized by strong drum-beats and distorted guitars. [1970s and after]
  2. Having the emotional or social characteristics associated with metal music; brash, bold, frank, unyielding, etc.
    • 2008, Lich King, "Attack of the Wrath of the War of the Death of the Strike of the Sword of the Blood of the Beast", Toxic Zombie Onslaught.
      quote en
Related terms Verb

metal (metals, present participle metalling; past and past participle metalled)

  1. To make a road using crushed rock, stones etc.

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