from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A stable elementary particle in the lepton class having a negative electric charge of 1 elementary unit (about 1.602 × 10−19 coulombs) and a mass of about 9.11 × 10−28 grams. Electrons are found in shells orbiting the nuclei of atoms and can also move freely through space as cathode rays in a cathode-ray tube or as beta particles emitted by radioactive nuclei, or flow in a current through a conducting material impelled by an electric potential difference.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Same as electrum.
  • noun In phys. chew., the definite charge of electricity which is associated with a univalent ion. Sometimes called an atom of electricity. See electricity.
  • noun According to a recent hypothesis, a minute particle detached from an atom of a gas by certain agencies, as when the gas is carrying an electric current.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun archaic Amber; also, the alloy of gold and silver, called electrum.
  • noun (Physics & Chem.) one of the fundamental subatomic particles, having a negative charge and about one thousandth the mass of a hydrogen atom. The electron carries (or is) a natural unit of negative electricity, equal to 3.4 x 10-10 electrostatic units, and is classed by physicists as a lepton. Its mass is practically constant at the lesser speeds, but increases due to relativistic effects as the velocity approaches that of light. Electrons are all of one kind, so far as is known. Thus far, no structure has been detected within an electron, and it is probably one of the ultimate composite constituents of all matter. An atom or group of atoms from which an electron has been detached has a positive charge and is called a cation. Electrons are projected from the cathode of vacuum tubes (including television picture tubes) as cathode rays and from radioactive substances as the beta rays. Previously also referred to as corpuscle, an obsolete term. The motion of electrons through metallic conductors is observed as an electric current. A particle identical to the electron in mass and most other respects, but having a positive instead of a negative charge, is called a positron, or antielectron

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun physics The subatomic particle having a negative charge and orbiting the nucleus; the flow of electrons in a conductor constitutes electricity.
  • noun chemistry, obsolete Alloys of magnesium and other metals, like aluminum or zinc, that were manufactured by the German company Chemische Fabrik Griesheim-Elektron.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an elementary particle with negative charge


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[electr(ic) + (i)on.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek ἤλεκτρον (elektron, "amber"). See also electric + -on.



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    May 6, 2009