University of Edinburgh

BSL Chemistry Glossary - element - definition

Definition: An element is a substance made up of only one type of atom.  For an example, gold (Au) is made up of lots of gold atoms packed together. 


It is pure and not a compound. It's an element.

Water is not an element because it is a compound - made up of two different types of atoms (two hydrogen atoms joined to one oxygen atom). It's a compound, not an element.


Silver (Ag) is another example of an element.
Look at the periodic table below to see more elements.

periodic table