Also, in many systems, the elements have been Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. These are carried through to today in the western astrology, as each zodiac sign has an element it is associated with. The four humours were also each related to an element. These elements are also used in theory of chinese medicine.
I believe it was the Greeks that also added Ether as an element, at about the same time that other Greeks were positing a monist(?), particulate world-composition (you know, atoms!).

In chemistry, refers to the various flavors atoms come in. In general speech, refers to wind, rain, snow, sun, and other features of the outdoors. To say that something has been "exposed to the elements" means it's been left outside and neglected, and may have been damanged by the weather.

the elements are a way to identify similar traits within signs of the zodiac. there are four elements:

the elements describe traits pertaining to how a person initially reacts to life as well as the basic temperament of the sign.
The Western Approach:

"The Elements" were introduced to western civilization by the greeks. It all happened during the period historians and modern day philosophers tend to call "From Mythos to Logos", a period in greek history where philosophers went from explaining everything as divine to seeking more down to earth explanations.
One of the important questions that were posed, was "What is everything composed of?" (We know it's nodegel of course, but that is beside the point). Many people belived water was the primary substance of cosmos, other belived earth was the deal. One crazed philosopher by the name of Democrites even thought the world constisted of itsy, bitsy unbreakable bits he called atoms. Democrites was proved wrong by the impeccable logic of Aristotles.

Aristotles belived that the Universe was more complicated. How could it possibly be made up of only one thing? He decided that (allmost) all of his predecessors were right. Sure, the world was made up of water, but also earth, air, fire, and ether.
The philosopher created a worldview consisting of spheres. The innermost sphere was earth. Outside of earth was water, then air, and then fire. Around all of this was the perfectly spherical and unmovable ether. This was proven beyond doubt by the known fact that everything seeks to it's natural state.
Aristotele's experiment: Earth is in the middle, so "earth"-things will allways travel downwards. Throw a rock in the air and see how it stops, turns around, and returns to Earth where it belongs. Water thrown up in the air does the same, but it does not penetrate Earth, so Water belongs therefore outside (above) Earth, but inside (beneath) Air.
Fire was harder, but since flames reach upwards no matter where you burn it, and since a flame is only a manifestation of fire and you'll get burned if you hold your hand even several inches above it, it seems perfectly reasonable to assume that fire travels upwards. Thus fire belongs above air.
Above all of this resides the celestial matter, ether. Ether is perfectly spherical and has a host of other properties that alchemists have tried to figure out for a long time.

In the field of set theory, ∈ (written ∈ in HTML) is shorthand for "element of". It just means that the thing to the left is a element of the set on the right. This should not be confused with lowercase epsilon (ε), which is short for empty string. It is not uncommon to see ε ∈ A, where A is a set.

Just in case your browser can't render the element of symbol or epsilon, here's a little ACSII art for you.

 element of      epsilon
   ______         ______
  /              /
 |_______        \____
 |               /
  \______        \______

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Element
Object (inherits from Node).

Represents the part of a document contained between start and end tags or, for an empty element, the empty tag. An element node may have any number of the following child nodes, which represent the content of the document within the tags:

Elements may also have attributes.

tagName
Attribute (read only, String)

The tag name from the markup.

For example, this element of markup

<P align="center">This is centred</P>
has a tagName of "P".

hasAttribute
Method
ECMAScript binding: hasAttribute(name) (returns boolean; name is a String)

Introduced in DOM Level 2.

Indicates the presence of an attribute node on this element (or by default) with a nodeName matching the given name.

hasAttributeNS
Method
ECMAScript binding: hasAttributeNS(namespaceURI, localName) (returns boolean; namespaceURI and localName are Strings)

Introduced in DOM Level 2.

This is the equivalent call to hasAttribute for namespaced markup.

getAttribute
Method
ECMAScript binding: getAttribute(name) (returns String; name is a String)

Returns the value of an attribute node on this element with a nodeName matching the given name. If no such node exists on this element, an empty string is returned.

Calling getAttribute("align") on the element in the example under tagName would return "center".

getAttributeNS
Method
ECMAScript binding: getAttributeNS(namespaceURI, localName) (returns String; namespaceURI and localName are Strings)

Introduced in DOM Level 2.

This is the equivalent call to getAttribute for namespaced markup.

getAttributeNode
Method
ECMAScript binding: getAttributeNode(name) (returns an attribute; name is a String)

Introduced in DOM Level 2.

Returns the attribute node on this element with a nodeName matching the given name. If no such node exists on this element, null is returned.

Calling getAttributeNode("align") on the element in the example under tagName would return an attribute node with a nodeName of "align" and a value of "center".

getAttributeNodeNS
Method
ECMAScript binding: getAttributeNodeNS(namespaceURI, localName) (returns an attribute; namespaceURI and localName are Strings)

Introduced in DOM Level 2.

This is the equivalent call to getAttributeNode for namespaced markup.

setAttribute
Method
ECMAScript binding: setAttribute(name, value) (name and value are Strings; can raise DOMException)

Sets the value of an attribute node on this element with a nodeName matching the given name to the given value. If no such node exists on this element, one is created.

Note: value will not be parsed by the implementation (i.e. it will be treated as literal text and output escaped). More complex values should be created as attribute nodes and added using setAttributeNode.

The exceptions thrown are:

INVALID_CHARACTER_ERR
The name given is invalid.
NO_MODIFICATION_ALLOWED_ERR
The node is read only.

setAttributeNS
Method
ECMAScript binding: setAttributeNS(namespaceURI, qualifiedName, value) (namespaceURI, qualifiedName and value are Strings; can raise DOMException)

Introduced in DOM Level 2.

This is the equivalent call to setAttribute for namespaced markup.

The exceptions thrown are:

NAMESPACE_ERR
The namespaceURI given is invalid.
INVALID_CHARACTER_ERR
The qualifiedName given is invalid.
NO_MODIFICATION_ALLOWED_ERR
The node is read only.

setAttributeNode
Method
ECMAScript binding: setAttributeNode(newAttr) (returns an attribute; newAttr is an attribute; can raise DOMException)

If an attribute node exists on this element with the same nodeName, it will be replaced and the old attribute node returned. Otherwise a new attribute node is attached to this element and null is returned.

Note: Use setAttributeNodeNS if the nodeName is qualified.

The exceptions thrown are:

WRONG_DOCUMENT_ERR
newAttr does not belong in this document.
INVALID_CHARACTER_ERR
The name given is invalid.
NO_MODIFICATION_ALLOWED_ERR
The node is read only.

setAttributeNodeNS
Method
ECMAScript binding: setAttributeNodeNS(newAttr) (newAttr is an attribute; can raise DOMException)

Introduced in DOM Level 2.

This is the equivalent call to setAttributeNode for namespaced markup.

The exceptions thrown are:

WRONG_DOCUMENT_ERR
newAttr does not belong in this document.
NAMESPACE_ERR
The namespaceURI given is invalid.
INVALID_CHARACTER_ERR
The qualifiedName given is invalid.
NO_MODIFICATION_ALLOWED_ERR
The node is read only.

removeAttribute
Method
ECMAScript binding: removeAttribute(name) (name is a String; can raise DOMException)

Removes an attribute node from this element with a nodeName matching the given name. If there is a default for that attribute, a new attribute node appears.

The exception thrown is:

NO_MODIFICATION_ALLOWED_ERR
The node is read only.

removeAttributeNS
Method
ECMAScript binding: removeAttributeNS(namespaceURI, localName) (namespaceURI and localName are Strings; can raise DOMException)

Introduced in DOM Level 2.

This is the equivalent call to removeAttribute for namespaced markup.

The exception thrown is:

NO_MODIFICATION_ALLOWED_ERR
The node is read only.

removeAttributeNode
Method
ECMAScript binding: removeAttributeNode(oldAttr) (returns an attribute; oldAttr is an attribute; can raise DOMException)

Removes an attribute node from this element with the same nodeName as oldAttr, returning the old attribute node. If there is a default for that attribute, a new attribute node appears.

The exception thrown is:

NO_MODIFICATION_ALLOWED_ERR
The node is read only.
NOT_FOUND_ERR
oldAttr cannot be found.

getElementsByTagName
Method
ECMAScript binding: getElementsByTagName(name) (returns a NodeList; name is a String)

Returns a list of all Element nodes with this node as their parent and a tagName matching name. A name of * matches all tagNames.

For example, calling getElementsByTagName("B") for this element of markup

<P>This is <B>bold</B></P>
would return a list containing one element.

getElementsByTagNameNS
Method
ECMAScript binding: getElementsByTagNameNS(namespaceURI, localName) (returns a NodeList; namespaceURI and localName are Strings)

Introduced in DOM Level 2.

This is the equivalent call to getElementsByTagName for namespaced markup. Both namespaceURI and localName take * to match any value.

El"e*ment (?), n. [F. 'el'ement, L. elementum.]

1.

One of the simplest or essential parts or principles of which anything consists, or upon which the constitution or fundamental powers of anything are based.

2.

One of the ultimate, undecomposable constituents of any kind of matter. Specifically: Chem. A substance which cannot be decomposed into different kinds of matter by any means at present employed; as, the elements of water are oxygen and hydrogen.

⇒ The elements are naturally classified in several families or groups, as the group of the alkaline elements, the halogen group, and the like. They are roughly divided into two great classes, the metals, as sodium, calcium, etc., which form basic compounds, and the nonmetals or metalloids, as oxygen, sulphur, chlorine, which form acid compounds; but the distinction is only relative, and some, as arsenic, tin, aluminium, etc., form both acid and basic compounds. The essential fact regarding every element is its relative atomic weight or equivalent. When the elements are tabulated in the order of their ascending atomic weights, the arrangement constitutes the series of the Periodic law of Mendelejeff. See Periodic law, under Periodic. This Periodic law enables us to predict the qualities of unknown elements. The number of elements known is about seventy-five, but the gaps in the Periodic law indicate the possibility of many more. Many of the elements with which we are familiar, as hydrogen, carbon, iron, gold, etc., have been recognized, by means of spectrum analysis, in the sun and the fixed stars. From certain evidence (as that afforded by the Periodic law, spectrum analysis, etc.) it appears that the chemical elements probably may not be simple bodies, but only very stable compounds of some simpler body or bodies. In formulas, the elements are designated by abbreviations of their names in Latin or New Latin.

The Elements ------------------------------------------------------------ Name |Sym-|Atomic Weight| |bol | O=16 | H=1 | ------------------------------------------------------------ Aluminum | Al | 27.1 | 26.9| Antimony(Stibium) Argon Arsenic Barium Beryllium (see Glucinum) Bismuth Boron Bromine Cadmium Caesium Calcium Carbon Cerium Chlorine Chromium Cobalt Columbium Copper (Cuprum) Erbium Fluorine Gadolinium Gallium Germanium Glucinum <--(now Beryllium)--> Gold Helium Hydrogen Indium Iodine Iridium Iron (Ferrum) Krypton Lanthanum Lead (Plumbum) Lithium Magnesium Manganese Mercury (Hydrargyrum) Molybdenum Neodymium Neon Nickel Niobium (see Columbium) Nirogen Osmium Oxygen Palladium Phosphorus Platinum Potassium (Kalium) Praseodymium Rhodium Rubidium Ruthenium The Elements -- continued ------------------------------------------------------------ Name Samarium Scandium Selenium Silicon Silver (Argentum) Sodium (Natrium) Strontium Sulphur Tantalum Tellurium Thallium Thorium Thulium Tin (Stannum) Titanium Tungsten (Wolframium) Uranium Vanadium Wolfranium (see Tungsten) Xenon Ytterbium Yttrium Zinc Zirconium ------------------------------------------------------------

Several other elements have been announced, as holmium, vesbium, austrium, etc., but their properties, and in some cases their existence, have not yet been definitely established.

3.

One of the ultimate parts which are variously combined in anything; as, letters are the elements of written language; hence, also, a simple portion of that which is complex, as a shaft, lever, wheel, or any simple part in a machine; one of the essential ingredients of any mixture; a constituent part; as, quartz, feldspar, and mica are the elements of granite.

The simplicity which is so large an element in a noble nature was laughed to scorn. Jowett (Thucyd.).

4. (a)

One out of several parts combined in a system of aggregation, when each is of the nature of the whole; as, a single cell is an element of the honeycomb

. (b) Anat.

One of the smallest natural divisions of the organism, as a blood corpuscle, a muscular fiber.

5. Biol.

One of the simplest essential parts, more commonly called cells, of which animal and vegetable organisms, or their tissues and organs, are composed.

6. Math. (a)

An infinitesimal part of anything of the same nature as the entire magnitude considered; as, in a solid an element may be infinitesimal portion between any two planes that are separated and indefinitely small distance

. In the calculus, element is sometimes used as synonymous with differential. (b)

Sometimes a curve, or surface, or volume is considered as described by a moving point, or curve, or surface, the latter being at any instant called an element of the former

. (c)

One of the terms in an algebraic expression.

7.

One of the necessary data or values upon which a system of calculations depends, or general conclusions are based; as, the elements of a planet's orbit.

8. pl.

The simplest or fundamental principles of any system in philosophy, science, or art; rudiments; as, the elements of geometry, or of music.

9. pl.

Any outline or sketch, regarded as containing the fundamental ideas or features of the thing in question; as, the elemental of a plan.

10.

One of the simple substances, as supposed by the ancient philosophers; one of the imaginary principles of matter

. (a) The four elements were, air, earth, water, and fire; whence it is said, water is the proper element of fishes; air is the element of birds. Hence, the state or sphere natural to anything or suited for its existence.

Of elements The grosser feeds the purer: Earth the Sea; Earth and the Sea feed Air; the Air those Fires Ethereal. Milton.

Does not our life consist of the four elements? Shak.

And the complexion of the element [i. e.,the sky or air] In favor's like the work we have in hand, Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible. Shak.

About twelve ounces [of food], with mere element for drink. Cheyne.

They show that they are out of their element. T. Baker.

Esp., the conditions and movements of the air. "The elements be kind to thee." (b) The elements of the alchemists were salt, sulphur, and mercury.

Brande & C.

11. pl.

The whole material composing the world.

The elements shall melt with fervent heat. 2 Peter iii. 10.

12. pl. Eccl.

The bread and wine used in the eucharist or Lord's supper.

Magnetic element, one of the hypothetical elementary portions of which a magnet is regarded as made up.

 

© Webster 1913.


El"e*ment (?), v. t.

1.

To compound of elements or first principles.

[Obs.] "[Love] being elemented too."

Donne.

2.

To constitute; to make up with elements.

His very soul was elemented of nothing but sadness. Walton.

 

© Webster 1913.

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