A particular crystalline form of → carbon occurring as a soft, black,
lustrous mineral. The carbon atoms in graphite are strongly bonded together in sheets.
Because the bonds between the sheets are weak, other atoms can easily fit between them,
causing graphite to be soft and slippery to the touch. Graphite conducts electricity
and is used in lead pencils and electrolytic anodes, as a lubricant, and as a
moderator in nuclear reactors. If graphite is subjected to high pressure, it
will be transformed into → diamond.
From Ger. Graphit, from Gk. graph(ein) "to write, draw," so called because it was used for pencils, → graph + -it a suffix of chemical compounds, equivalent to E. -ite.