In chemistry, a metal (Greek: Metallon) is an element that readily loses electrons to form positive ions (cations) and has metallic bonds between metal atoms. Metals form ionic bonds with non-metals. They are sometimes described as a lattice of positive ions surrounded by a cloud of delocalized electrons. The metals are one of the three groups of elements as distinguished by their ionization and bonding properties, along with the metalloids and nonmetals. On the periodic table, a diagonal line drawn from boron (B) to polonium (Po) separates the metals from the nonmetals. Most elements on this line are metalloids, sometimes called semi-metals; elements to the lower left are metals; elements to the upper right are nonmetals.
An alternative definition of metals is that they have overlapping conduction bands and valence bands in their electronic structure. This definition opens up the category for metallic polymers and other organic metals, which have been made by researchers and employed in high-tech devices. These synthetic materials often have the characteristic silvery-grey reflectiveness (luster) of elemental metals.
The traditional definition focuses on the bulk properties of metals. They tend to be lustrous, ductile, malleable, and good conductors of electricity, while nonmetals are generally brittle (if solid), lack luster, and are insulators.