Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

element - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun [countable] element pronunciation in American English /ˈelɪmənt/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    an important basic part of something complicated, for example a system or plan
    an important/essential element:

    Our new management system includes two essential elements.

    element in:

    Advertising is not the only element in the marketing process.

    element of:

    Fieldwork is a key element of this course.

  2. 2
    chemistry a substance that consists of only one type of atom
  3. 3
    [singular] a small but important amount of a particular quality or feeling
    element of:

    There is an element of truth in what she said.

    The element of surprise could be one of our best weapons.

  4. 5
    earth, air, fire, or water, considered in the past to be the substances that all things were made of

Open Dictionary


the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play