Metal Met"al (? or ?; 277), n. [F. m['e]tal, L. metallum metal, mine, Gr. ? mine; cf. Gr. ? to search after. Cf. {Mettle}, {Medal}.] 1. (Chem.) An elementary substance, as sodium, calcium, or copper, whose oxide or hydroxide has basic rather than acid properties, as contrasted with the nonmetals, or metalloids. No sharp line can be drawn between the metals and nonmetals, and certain elements partake of both acid and basic qualities, as chromium, manganese, bismuth, etc. [1913 Webster]

Note: Popularly, the name is applied to certain hard, fusible metals, as gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, lead, zinc, nickel, etc., and also to the mixed metals, or metallic alloys, as brass, bronze, steel, bell metal, etc. [1913 Webster]

2. Ore from which a metal is derived; -- so called by miners. --Raymond. [1913 Webster]

3. A mine from which ores are taken. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

Slaves . . . and persons condemned to metals. --Jer. Taylor. [1913 Webster]

4. The substance of which anything is made; material; hence, constitutional disposition; character; temper. [1913 Webster]

Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

5. Courage; spirit; mettle. See {Mettle}. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

Note: The allusion is to the temper of the metal of a sword blade. --Skeat. [1913 Webster]

6. The broken stone used in macadamizing roads and ballasting railroads. [1913 Webster]

7. The effective power or caliber of guns carried by a vessel of war. [1913 Webster]

8. Glass in a state of fusion. --Knight. [1913 Webster]

9. pl. The rails of a railroad. [Eng.] [1913 Webster]

{Base metal} (Chem.), any one of the metals, as iron, lead, etc., which are readily tarnished or oxidized, in contrast with the noble metals. In general, a metal of small value, as compared with gold or silver.

{Fusible metal} (Metal.), a very fusible alloy, usually consisting of bismuth with lead, tin, or cadmium.

{Heavy metals} (Chem.), the metallic elements not included in the groups of the alkalies, alkaline earths, or the earths; specifically, the heavy metals, as gold, mercury, platinum, lead, silver, etc.

{Light metals} (Chem.), the metallic elements of the alkali and alkaline earth groups, as sodium, lithium, calcium, magnesium, etc.; also, sometimes, the metals of the earths, as aluminium.

{Muntz metal}, an alloy for sheathing and other purposes, consisting of about sixty per cent of copper, and forty of zinc. Sometimes a little lead is added. It is named from the inventor.

{Prince's metal} (Old Chem.), an alloy resembling brass, consisting of three parts of copper to one of zinc; -- also called {Prince Rupert's metal}. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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