AskDefine | Define silex

Dictionary Definition



1 a pure form of finely ground silica
2 a vacuum coffee maker

User Contributed Dictionary



Origin: 1585–95; in Latin word: silex, for hard stone (flints). Subsequently, Silicon was first identified by the chemist Antoine Lavoisier in 1787 as a component element of the silex, or silicis for flint, and more generally what were termed "flint's" during the era, nowadays as we would say "silica" or more formally, "silicates", and silex came to mean ground up silica's.


  1. finely ground relatively pure form of silicas used as a paint filler etc.
  2. Obsolescent: In Latin, ca 1590, use meaning "Flints" (hard rocks), as a Early Modern Era term for silica materials (earths).

Extensive Definition

Silex may mean:
  • has come to refer to a finely ground, nearly pure form of Silica or Silicate.
The first known use occurs circa 1590 as a post-medieval/Early Modern Era term in Latin for (presumably) powdered or ground up "Flints" (i.e. stones, generally meaning the class of "Hard Rocks") in alchemy, and was later used famously when describing experiments in a published paper by Antoine Lavoisier where such earths are mentioned as the source of his isolation of the element silicon in 1787. Silex is now most commonly used to describe finely ground silicates used as pigments in paint.
  • Silex Process, a laser separation technique for uranium enrichment
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