A malleable, ductile, reddish metal with a bright luster that is known from antiquity, and has been mined for some 5000 years; symbol Cu. → Atomic number 29; → atomic weight 63.546; → melting point 1,083.4°C; → boiling point 2,567°C; → specific gravity 8.96 at 20°C. Copper is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity and is widely used for various purposes, either pure or in numerous alloys such as bronze and brass in combination with → tin and → zinc. Its → radioactive isotopes have half-lives from 5.10 min (66Cu) to 61.0 hr (67Cu). Copper is mostly created inside → massive stars, via the → s-process, after they leave the → main sequence.
M.E. coper; O.E. coper, copor; cf. O.N. koparr, Ger. Kupfer, the original Germaic word from L.L. cuprum, contraction of L. Cyprium (æs) "Cyprian (metal)," referriing to the island which was the primary source of copper for the Romans, after Gk. Kyprios "Cypress," literally "land of cypress trees."
Mes "copper," of unknown origin; maybe related to Skt. māsaka- "a weight of gold;" Pali māsa- "a small coin, of copper, of very low value;" Prakrit māsa-.