The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Metal \Met"al\ (? or ?; 277), n. [F. m['e]tal, L. metallum
metal, mine, Gr. ? mine; cf. Gr. ? to search after. Cf.
1. (Chem.) An elementary substance, as sodium, calcium, or
copper, whose oxide or hydroxide has basic rather than
acid properties, as contrasted with the nonmetals, or
metalloids. No sharp line can be drawn between the metals
and nonmetals, and certain elements partake of both acid
and basic qualities, as chromium, manganese, bismuth, etc.
Note: Popularly, the name is applied to certain hard, fusible
metals, as gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, lead, zinc,
nickel, etc., and also to the mixed metals, or metallic
alloys, as brass, bronze, steel, bell metal, etc.
2. Ore from which a metal is derived; -- so called by miners.
3. A mine from which ores are taken. [Obs.]
Slaves . . . and persons condemned to metals. --Jer.
4. The substance of which anything is made; material; hence,
constitutional disposition; character; temper.
Not till God make men of some other metal than
5. Courage; spirit; mettle. See Mettle. --Shak.
Note: The allusion is to the temper of the metal of a sword
6. The broken stone used in macadamizing roads and ballasting
7. The effective power or caliber of guns carried by a vessel
8. Glass in a state of fusion. --Knight.
9. pl. The rails of a railroad. [Eng.]
Base metal (Chem.), any one of the metals, as iron, lead,
etc., which are readily tarnished or oxidized, in contrast
with the noble metals. In general, a metal of small value,
as compared with gold or silver.
Fusible metal (Metal.), a very fusible alloy, usually
consisting of bismuth with lead, tin, or cadmium.
Heavy metals (Chem.), the metallic elements not included in
the groups of the alkalies, alkaline earths, or the
earths; specifically, the heavy metals, as gold, mercury,
platinum, lead, silver, etc.
Light metals (Chem.), the metallic elements of the alkali
and alkaline earth groups, as sodium, lithium, calcium,
magnesium, etc.; also, sometimes, the metals of the
earths, as aluminium.
Muntz metal, an alloy for sheathing and other purposes,
consisting of about sixty per cent of copper, and forty of
zinc. Sometimes a little lead is added. It is named from
Prince's metal (Old Chem.), an alloy resembling brass,
consisting of three parts of copper to one of zinc; --
also called Prince Rupert's metal.