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Etymology of chemical elements
Can you name the chemical elements given the origins of their names?
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For those interested, the notes in square brackets provide extra words which are, at least in part, derived from the same source as the given element's name.
Origin of name
Greek for 'sun'
< Greek ἥλιος (hēlios), 'sun', because it was first detected in the spectrum of sunlight during a solar eclipse in 1868
Greek for 'light green'
< Greek χλωρός (chlōrós), 'light green', because of its colour [related: Chloe]
Greek words for 'sharp, acid' and 'producing'
< Greek ὀξύς (oxýs), 'sharp, acid' and Greek -γενής (-genēs), 'born', because it was once believed that all acids contained oxygen [related: oxymoron]
Greek for 'unstable'
< Greek ἄστατος (ástatos), 'unstable', because of its instability [related: stasis, static]
Greek words for 'water' and 'producing'
< Greek ὕδωρ (hýdōr), 'water' and Greek -γενής (-genēs), 'born', because it forms water when combusted
Greek for 'heavy'
< Greek βαρύς (barýs), 'heavy', because of the weight of minerals containing it
Latin for 'limestone'
< Latin calx, 'limestone', of which it is a constituent [related: chalk]
Latin for 'charcoal, coal'
< Latin carbō, 'charcoal, coal'
Latin: seventh planet from the Sun
< Latin Uranus, planet of the solar system (and Greek god of the sky), because it was discovered shortly after the planet
Greek for 'hidden, secret'
< Greek κρυπτόν (kryptón), 'hidden, secret', because of its rarity [related: cryptic]
Greek for 'foreign, strange'
< Greek ξένον (xénon), 'foreign, strange' [related: xenophobia]
Greek for 'colour'
< Greek χρῶμα (khrōma), 'colour', because of its many colourful compounds [related: chromatic]
Greek for 'to lurk, escape notice'
< Greek λανθάνειν, (lanthánein), 'to lurk, escape notice', because it was hidden in rare minerals
Spanish for 'silver'
< Spanish platina, 'platinum', from plata, 'silver', because it is visually similar
German for 'demon'
< German Kupfernickel, 'copper demon', because it looked like copper but yielded none
Origin of name
Old Norse: Norse god of thunder
< Old Norse Thōrr, 'thunder' [related: Thursday]
Latin name for Copenhagen
< New Latin Hafnia, 'Copenhagen', because it was discovered there
Latin for 'cock'
< Latin gallus, 'cock', translation of French coq in the name of its discoverer, Lecoq de Boisbaudran
Greek for 'idle, inactive'
< Greek ἀργόν (argón), 'idle, inactive', because of its unreactiveness [related: ergonomic]
Latin for 'red'
< Latin rūbidus, 'red', because of the red lines in its spectrum
Latin for 'rainbow'
< Latin īris, 'rainbow', because of the many colours of its compounds [related: iris, iridescence]
Old Norse name for the goddess Freyja
< Old Norse Vanadís, 'Freyja', Norse goddess of beauty, because of its beautifully coloured compounds
Greek for 'new'
< Greek νέον (néon), 'new', because it was newly discovered
Greek for 'stink, stench'
< Greek βρῶμος (brômos), 'stink, stench'
Swedish for 'heavy stone'
< Swedish tungsten, 'heavy stone', because of the nature of the mineral in which it was discovered
Greek for 'violet'
< Greek ἰώδης (īṓdēs), 'violet', because it has a violet vapour
German: mythological goblin of the mines
< German Kobold, 'goblin', because of the problems it caused silver miners
Greek for 'light-bringer'
< Greek ϕωσϕόρος (phōsphóros), 'light-bringer', because the first form to be discovered, white phosphorus, burns brightly [related: photo]
Latin name for Poland
< Latin Polōnia, 'Poland', in honour of Polish co-discoverer Marie Curie
Latin for 'flow'
< Latin fluor, 'flow', because it melts easily
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