Definition of element noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈelɪmənt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈelɪmənt//
    Molecules and matter
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  1. 1  [countable] element (in/of something) a necessary or typical part of something Cost was a key element in our decision. The story has all the elements of a soap opera. Customer relations is an important element of the job.
  2. 2  [countable, usually singular] element of surprise, risk, truth, etc. a small amount of a quality or feeling We need to preserve the element of surprise. There appears to be an element of truth in his story.
  3. group of people
  4. 3[countable, usually plural] a group of people who form a part of a larger group or society moderate/radical elements within the party unruly elements in the school
  5. chemistry
  6. 4   [countable] a simple chemical substance that consists of atoms of only one type and cannot be split by chemical means into a simpler substance. Gold, oxygen and carbon are all elements. compare compound See related entries: Molecules and matter
  7. earth/air/fire/water
  8. 5[countable] one of the four substances: earth, air, fire and water, which people used to believe everything else was made of
  9. weather
  10. 6the elements [plural] the weather, especially bad weather Are we going to brave the elements and go for a walk? to be exposed to the elements
  11. basic principles
  12. 7elements [plural] the basic principles of a subject that you have to learn first synonym basics He taught me the elements of map-reading.
  13. environment
  14. 8[countable, usually singular] a natural or suitable environment, especially for an animal Water is a fish's natural element.
  15. electrical part
  16. 9[countable] the part of a piece of electrical equipment that gives out heat The kettle needs a new element.
  17. Word OriginMiddle English (denoting fundamental constituents of the world or celestial objects): via Old French from Latin elementum ‘principle, rudiment’, translating Greek stoikheion ‘step, component part’.Extra examples He told us stories of how he had battled the elements on his mountaineering trips. I put on my thick coat ready to brave the elements. Police say there may have been a racial element to the attacks. Practical work will form a major element of the syllabus. The place was completely exposed to the elements. The promise of tax cuts became the dominant element in the campaign. There is a considerable element of danger in her job. There is too much of a competitive element in the sales department. There may have been an element of jealousy in her response. These ideas are not just the province of a fringe element in the party. These rumours do contain an element of truth. This constitutes one of the key elements in their reform package. an offbeat theatrical production that combines elements of fantasy and satire the constituent elements of the universe the disparate elements brought together in these paintings the narrative and decorative elements in Pop art All chemical substances, whether elements, compounds or mixtures, are made up of three types of particles. All outdoor activities carry an element of risk. Chemical reactions involve the atomic elements, such as when carbon in coal and oxygen in the air are combined in fire to produce carbon dioxide and warmth. Customer service is an important element of the job. There is often an element of luck involved in doing exams.Idioms doing what you are good at and enjoy She's really in her element at parties. in a situation that you are not used to and that makes you feel uncomfortable I feel out of my element talking about politics.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: element

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