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rare-earth element


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

  • n. Any of the abundant metallic elements of atomic number 57 through 71. Also called lanthanide.

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

  • n. any element of the lanthanide series (atomic numbers 57 through 71)


So called because they were originally thought to be rare.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


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