1. <chemistry> A metallic element, constituting the most precious metal used as a common commercial medium of exchange. It has a characteristic yellow colour, is one of the heaviest substances known (specific gravity 19.32), is soft, and very malleable and ductile. It is quite unalterable by heat, moisture, and most corrosive agents, and therefore well suited for its use in coin and jewelry.

Symbol: Au (Aurum).

Atomic weight: 196.7.

Native gold contains usually eight to ten per cent of silver, but often much more. As the amount of silver increases, the colour becomes whiter and the specific gravity lower. Gold is very widely disseminated, as in the sands of many rivers, but in very small quantity. It usually occurs in quartz veins (gold quartz), in slate and metamorphic rocks, or in sand and alluvial soil, resulting from the disintegration of such rocks. It also occurs associated with other metallic substances, as in auriferous pyrites, and is combined with tellurium in the minerals petzite, calaverite, sylvanite, etc. Pure gold is too soft for ordinary use, and is hardened by alloying with silver and copper, the latter giving a characteristic reddish tinge. [See Carat] Gold also finds use in gold foil, in the pigment purple of Cassius, and in the chloride, which is used as a toning agent in photography.

2. Money; riches; wealth.

3. A yellow colour, like that of the metal; as, a flower tipped with gold.

4. Figuratively, something precious or pure; as, hearts of gold. Age of gold. See Golden age, under Golden. Dutch gold, Fool's gold, Gold dust, etc. See Dutch, Dust, etc. Gold amalgam, a mineral, found in Columbia and California, composed of gold and mercury. Gold beater, one whose occupation is to beat gold into gold leaf. Gold beater's skin, the prepared outside membrane of the large intestine of the ox, used for separating the leaves of metal during the process of gold-beating.

<zoology> Gold beetle See Cradle. Gold diggings, the places, or region, where gold is found by digging in sand and gravel from which it is separated by washing. Gold end, a fragment of broken gold or jewelry. Gold-end man. A buyer of old gold or jewelry. A goldsmith's apprentice. An itinerant jeweler. "I know him not: he looks like a gold-end man." . Gold fever, a popular mania for gold hunting. Gold field, a region in which are deposits of gold. Gold finder. One who finds gold. One who empties privies. Gold flower, a composite plant with dry and persistent yellow radiating involucral scales, the Helichrysum Stoechas of Southern Europe. There are many South African species of the same genus. Gold foil, thin sheets of gold, as used by dentists and others. See Gold leaf.

<botany> Gold knobs or knoppes A small evergreen plant (Coptis trifolia), so called from its fibrous yellow roots. It is common in marshy places in the United States. Gold tissue, a tissue fabric interwoven with gold thread. Gold tooling, the fixing of gold leaf by a hot tool upon book covers, or the ornamental impression so made. Gold washings, places where gold found in gravel is separated from lighter material by washing. Gold worm, a glowworm. Jeweler's gold, an alloy containing three parts of gold to one of copper. Mosaic gold. See Mosaic.

Origin: AS. Gold; akin to D. Goud, OS. & G. Gold, Icel. Gull, Sw. & Dan. Guld, Goth. Gulp, Russ. & OSlav. Zlato; prob. Akin to E. Yellow. See Yellow, and cf. Gild.

(01 Mar 1998)

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