# What term refers to how strongly an atom of an element attracts electrons in a chemical bond with an atom of a different element?

Jan 22, 2017

You refer to $\text{electronegativity}$.
$\text{Electronegativity}$ refers to the tendency of an atom in a chemical bond to polarize electron density towards itself. There are various scales, of which $\text{Pauling Scale}$ was the earliest, and is still most widely used. Electronegativity increases across a Period of the Periodic Table (from left to right as we face it), and DECREASES down a Group, a column of the Table.
When we look at molecules which combine strongly electronegative elements with moderately electronegative elements, such as $O {H}_{2}$, or $H - F$ or $N {H}_{3}$, we conceive that the individual bonds become polarized. That is charge separation occurs to give ""^(delta+)H-O^(delta-)-H^(delta+), ""^(delta-)F-H^(delta+) and ""^(delta-)NH_3^(delta+), where there are partial electric charges on the participating atoms.