Commonly refers to any element in the d-block of the periodic table, including zinc, cadmium and mercury. This corresponds to groups 3 to 12 on the periodic table.
More strictly, IUPAC defines a transition metal as "an element whose atom has an incomplete d sub-shell, or which can give rise to cations with an incomplete d sub-shell." By this definition, zinc, cadmium, and mercury are excluded from the transition metals, as they have a d10 configuration. Only a few transient species of these elements that leave ions with a partly filled d subshell have been formed, and mercury(I) only occurs as Hg22+, which does not strictly form a lone ion with a partly filled subshell, and hence these three elements are inconsistent with the latter definition. They do form ions with a 2+ oxidation state, but these retain the 4d10 configuration. Element 112 may also be excluded although its oxidation properties are unlikely to be observed due to its radioactive nature. This definition corresponds to groups 3 to 11 on the periodic table.