Meaning of ELEMENT in English
el ‧ e ‧ ment S2 W1 AC /ˈeləmənt, ˈelɪmənt/ BrE AmE noun [countable]
[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: Latin elementum ]
1 . PART one part or feature of a whole system, plan, piece of work etc, especially one that is basic or important
Honesty is a vital element of her success.
the primary element in the country’s economy
important/key/essential/vital etc element
Besides ability, the other essential element in political success is luck.
Business and management elements are built into the course.
2 . element of surprise/truth/risk/doubt etc an amount, usually small, of a quality or feeling:
There is an element of truth in your argument.
3 . CHEMISTRY a simple chemical substance such as ↑ carbon or oxygen that consists of atoms of only one kind ⇨ ↑ compound 1 (1)
4 . PEOPLE a group of people who form part of a larger group, especially when the rest of the group does not approve of them ⇨ faction :
the hard-line communist elements in the party
5 . the elements [plural] the weather, especially bad weather:
sailors battling against the elements
6 . HEATING the part of a piece of electrical equipment that produces heat
7 . the elements of something the most simple things that you have to learn first about a subject:
She doesn’t even know the basic elements of politeness.
8 . EARTH/AIR/FIRE/WATER one of the four substances (earth, air, fire, and water) from which people used to believe that everything was made
9 . be in your element to be in a situation that you enjoy, because you are good at it:
Graham was in his element, building a fire and cooking the steaks.
10 . be out of your element to be in a situation that makes you uncomfortable or unhappy:
She was out of her element in this dull little town.
• • •
▪ an important element
This one fact is the most important element of the theory.
▪ a major element (=very important)
Private study is a major element of the students’ timetable.
▪ a key element (=very important and necessary)
Trust is a key element in any relationship.
▪ a crucial/critical element (=extremely important and necessary)
The most crucial element of our economic system is the law of supply and demand.
▪ a vital/essential element (=necessary so that something can happen or exist)
Her determination is a vital element of her success.
▪ the main element (=most important)
The reform programme has three main elements.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. Longman - Словарь современного английского языка. 2012