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sil·ver (sĭlvər)
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n.
1. Symbol Ag A lustrous white, ductile, malleable metallic element, occurring both uncombined and in ores such as argentite, having the highest thermal and electrical conductivity of the metals. It is highly valued for jewelry, tableware, and other ornamental use and is widely used in coinage, photography, dental and soldering alloys, electrical contacts, and printed circuits. Atomic number 47; atomic weight 107.868; melting point 961.78°C; boiling point 2,162°C; specific gravity 10.50 (20°C); valence 1, 2. See Periodic Table.
2. This metallic element as a commodity or medium of exchange.
3. Coins made of this metallic element.
4. A medal made of silver awarded to one placing second in a competition, as in the Olympics.
5.
a. Domestic articles, such as tableware, made of or plated with silver.
b. Tableware, especially eating and serving utensils, made of steel or another metal.
6. A lustrous medium gray.
7. A silver salt, especially silver nitrate, used to sensitize paper.
adj.
1. Made of or containing silver: a silver bowl; silver ore.
2. Resembling silver, especially in having a lustrous shine; silvery.
3. Of a lustrous medium gray: silver hair.
4. Having a soft, clear, resonant sound.
5. Eloquent; persuasive: a silver voice.
6. Favoring the adoption of silver as a standard of currency: the silver plank of the 1896 Democratic platform.
7. Of or constituting a 25th anniversary.
v. sil·vered, sil·ver·ing, sil·vers
v.tr.
1. To cover, plate, or adorn with silver or a similar lustrous substance.
2. To give a silver color to.
3. To coat (photographic paper) with a film of silver nitrate or other silver salt.
v.intr.
To become silvery.

[Middle English, from Old English siolfor, seolfor, probably ultimately from Akkadian arpu, refined silver, verbal adj. of arāpu, to smelt, refine; see rp in the Appendix of Semitic roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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