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met·al  audio  (mtl) KEY 

  1. Abbr. M Any of a category of electropositive elements that usually have a shiny surface, are generally good conductors of heat and electricity, and can be melted or fused, hammered into thin sheets, or drawn into wires. Typical metals form salts with nonmetals, basic oxides with oxygen, and alloys with one another.
  2. An alloy of two or more metallic elements.
  3. An object made of metal.
  4. Basic character; mettle.
  5. Broken stones used for road surfaces or railroad beds.
  6. Molten glass, especially when used in glassmaking.
  7. Molten cast iron.
  8. Printing Type made of metal.
  9. Music Heavy metal.
met·aled, also met·alled met·al·ing, met·al·ling met·als, met·als
To cover or surface (a roadbed, for example) with broken stones.

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin metallum, from Greek metallon, mine, ore, metal

In modern English, metal and mettle are pronounced the same, and they are in fact all related. Middle English borrowed metal from Old French in the 14th century; Old French metal, metail, came from Latin metallum, from Greek metallon, "mine, quarry, ore, metal." By the 16th century, metal had also come to mean "the stuff one is made of, one's character," but there was no difference in spelling between the literal and figurative senses until about 1700, when the spelling mettle, originally just a variant of metal, was fixed for the sense "fortitude." The history of English has numerous examples of pairs of words, like metal and mettle, that are (historically speaking) spelling variants of the same word; two other such pairs are trump/triumph and through/thorough.

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