Pronunciation: (sō'dē-um), [key]
1. Chem.a soft, silver-white, metallic element that oxidizes rapidly in moist air, occurring in nature only in the combined state, and used in the synthesis of sodium peroxide, sodium cyanide, and tetraethyllead: a necessary element in the body for the maintenance of normal fluid balance and other physiological functions. Symbol: Na; at. wt.: 22.9898; at. no.: 11; sp. gr.: 0.97 at 20°C.
2. Med., Pharm.any salt of sodium, as sodium chloride or sodium bicarbonate, present in or added to foods or beverages as a seasoning or preservative and used in many pharmaceutical products as an antacid, anticoagulant, or other agent.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.