A metal (from Greek μέταλλον métallon, „mine, quarry, metal“) is a material (an element, compound, or alloy) that is typically hard, opaque, shiny, and has good electrical and thermal conductivity. Metals are generally malleable—that is, they can be hammered or pressed permanently out of shape without breaking or cracking—as well as fusible (able to be fused or melted) and ductile (able to be drawn out into a thin wire). About 91 of the 118 elements in the periodic table are metals; the others are nonmetals or metalloids. Some elements appear in both metallic and non-metallic forms.
Astrophysicists use the term „metal“ to collectively describe all elements other than hydrogen and helium, the simplest two, in a star. The star fuses smaller atoms, mostly hydrogen and helium, to make larger ones over its lifetime. In that sense, the metallicity of an object is the proportion of its matter made up of all heavier chemical elements, not just traditional metals.
Many elements and compounds that are not normally classified as metals become metallic under high pressures; these are formed as metallic allotropes of non-metals.
The strength and resilience of metals has led to their frequent use in high-rise building and bridge construction, as well as most vehicles, many home appliances, tools, pipes, non-illuminated signs and railroad tracks. Precious metals were historically used as coinage.