Dysprosium is found in various minerals including bastnäsite, blomstrandine, euxenite, fergusonite, gadolinite, monazite, polycrase and xenotime. It is not found in nature as a free element. The element name originates from the Greek word dysprositos, meaning hard to get at.
Apart from its application in permanent magnets, dysprosium is used together with vanadium et al in laser materials and commercial lighting. Other applications include neutron absorbing control rods in nuclear reactors, computer hard disks, part substitution of neodymium in electrical engines and production of magneto-restrictive Terfenol-D.