Definition of NON-METAL


Non-metal is a noun that primarily refers to an element or substance lacking metallic properties, typically characterized by low conductivity, brittleness, and a tendency to gain electrons in chemical reactions. It can be understood in various contexts:

Elemental Properties: In chemistry, “non-metal” (noun) denotes elements situated on the right side of the periodic table, excluding the metalloids, which exhibit properties opposite to metals, such as low luster, poor conductivity, and a tendency to form covalent bonds.

Atomic Structure: Non-metal atoms generally have high electronegativity and tend to gain electrons to achieve stable electron configurations, forming anions in chemical reactions.

Electrical Conductivity: Non-metals are poor conductors of electricity and heat due to the lack of free electrons for electrical conduction, making them suitable insulators in electrical and thermal insulation applications.

Brittleness and Rigidity: Non-metals often exhibit brittleness, lack of malleability, and low tensile strength, rendering them unsuitable for structural applications requiring toughness and ductility.

Insulating Materials: Non-metal materials, such as ceramics, polymers, and certain types of glass, are utilized as insulators in electrical wiring, electronic devices, building insulation, and protective coatings.

Chemical Reagents: Non-metal compounds, including acids, halogens, and organic substances, play essential roles as chemical reagents, catalysts, and solvents in industrial processes, research laboratories, and pharmaceutical production.

Environmental Pollution: Some non-metal elements, such as sulfur and nitrogen, contribute to environmental pollution when released as pollutants into the atmosphere through combustion processes, leading to acid rain and air quality degradation.

Biological Functions: Non-metals like carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen are fundamental elements in biological molecules such as carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids, essential for life processes in organisms.

Examples of Non-metals: Non-Metals are elements that generally lack metallic properties. Here is a list of non-metals:

Hydrogen (H)Helium (He)Carbon (C)Nitrogen (N)
Oxygen (O)Fluorine (F)Neon (Ne)Phosphorus (P)
Sulfur (S)Chlorine (Cl)Argon (Ar)Selenium (Se)
Bromine (Br)Krypton (Kr)Iodine (I)Xenon (Xe)
Radon (Rn)

These are the elements commonly categorized as non-metals. Keep in mind that some elements, such as hydrogen, can exhibit properties of both non-metals and metals depending on the conditions.

In summary, non-metal is a noun that describes elements or substances lacking metallic properties, characterized by low conductivity, brittleness, and a tendency to gain electrons in chemical reactions, with applications spanning industrial, commercial, environmental, and biological domains.

NON-METAL in a sentence

  • The periodic table categorizes elements into metals, non-metals, and metalloids, with hydrogen being the most abundant non-metal in the universe.
  • In chemistry class, students conducted experiments to observe the properties of non-metals, such as sulfur, oxygen, and carbon.
  • The jeweler specialized in crafting intricate designs using precious metals like gold and silver, but also worked with non-metal materials such as ceramics and glass.
  • The aerospace engineer developed innovative composite materials that combined metals with non-metals to create lightweight yet durable components for aircraft.
  • The dentist used a non-metal filling material to repair the cavity, providing a natural-looking restoration that matched the color of the patient’s teeth.
  • The construction industry increasingly relies on non-metal materials like concrete, plastic, and wood for building structures that are both strong and sustainable.
  • While metals are excellent conductors of electricity, non-metals like rubber and plastic are often used as insulators to prevent electrical currents from flowing.
  • The environmental scientist studied the impact of heavy metals and non-metals on ecosystems, highlighting the importance of responsible waste management and pollution control measures.

Origin of NON-METAL

The term non-metal doesn’t have a distinct etymology as it’s a compound term composed of “non-” and “metal.”

  • English Formation: “Non-metal” is formed by adding the prefix “non-” to “metal,” indicating the absence or negation of metal.
  • Semantic Context: In modern usage, “non-metal” refers to a substance or element that does not exhibit the typical properties of metals. Non-metals generally have lower conductivity, are not malleable or ductile, and lack the metallic luster characteristic of metals. They are often found on the right side of the periodic table and include elements such as carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur.

The term non-metal is formed in English, emphasizing its association with substances or elements that are not classified as metals.


  • Nonmetallic element
  • Nonmetallic substance
  • Nonmetallic compound
  • Nonmetallic material
  • Nonmetallic matter
  • Inorganic element
  • Inorganic substance
  • Inorganic compound


  • Metal
  • Metallic element
  • Metalloid
  • Alloy
  • Mineral
  • Substance
  • Chemical
  • Matter


  • Metalloid
  • Mineral
  • Element
  • Compound
  • Material
  • Substance
  • Inorganic
  • Composition

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