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

  • n. A soft, ductile, steel-white, tarnish-resistant, metallic element occurring naturally with platinum, especially in gold, nickel, and copper ores. Because it can absorb large amounts of hydrogen, it is used as a purification filter for hydrogen and a catalyst in hydrogenation. It is alloyed for use in electric contacts, jewelry, nonmagnetic watch parts, and surgical instruments. Atomic number 46; atomic weight 106.4; melting point 1,552°C; boiling point 3,140°C; specific gravity 12.02 (20°C); valence 2, 3, 4. See Table at element.
  • n. A safeguard, especially one viewed as a guarantee of the integrity of social institutions: the Bill of Rights, palladium of American civil liberties.
  • n. A sacred object that was believed to have the power to preserve a city or state possessing it.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A safeguard (from a statue of Athena that was believed to safeguard the ancient city of Troy).
  • n. A metallic chemical element (symbol Pd) with an atomic number of 46.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any statue of the goddess Pallas; esp., the famous statue on the preservation of which depended the safety of ancient Troy.
  • n. That which affords effectual protection or security; a safeguard.
  • n. A rare metallic element of the light platinum group, found native, and also alloyed with platinum and gold. It is a silver-white metal resembling platinum, and like it permanent and untarnished in the air, but is more easily fusible, with a melting point of 1555° C. It can also be prepared as a finely divided black powder. It is unique in its power of absorbing hydrogen, which it does to the extent of nearly a thousand volumes, forming the alloy Pd2H. It is used for graduated circles and verniers, for plating certain silver goods, and somewhat in dentistry. It was so named in 1804 by Wollaston from the asteroid Pallas, which was discovered in 1802. Symbol Pd. Atomic number, 46. Atomic weight, 106.42. Density 12.0.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A statue or image of the goddess Pallas; especially, in art and legend, a xoanon image. On the preservation of such an image, according to the legend, depended the safety of Troy.
  • n. 2. Anything believed or reputed to afford effectual defense, protection, and safety: as, trial by jury is the palladium of our civil rights.
  • n. Chemical symbol, Pd; atomic weight, 106.5. One of the rare metals associated with platinum.
  • n.

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

  • n. a silver-white metallic element of the platinum group that resembles platinum; occurs in some copper and nickel ores; does not tarnish at ordinary temperatures and is used (alloyed with gold) in jewelry


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

From Pallas (discovered at the same time as the element).
Middle English Palladion, a statue of Pallas Athena believed to protect Troy, from Old French palladion, from Latin Palladium, from Greek Palladion, from Pallas, Pallad-, Pallas Athena.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

The sense of "safeguard" comes from Latin Palladium (the image of Pallas that protected Troy), from Ancient Greek Παλλάδιον, from Παλλάς, an alternative name for Athena.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

The element was named after Pallas, an asteroid that had been discovered two years before the element.


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  • This video explains how Palladium was named after Pallas, which was thought to be an planet at the time.

    around the 2:45 mark.

    February 23, 2013

  • Pd.

    December 16, 2007