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Chemical Element Names

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Chemical Element Names

1 From the Greek for 'I bring forth water' Click to show or hide the answer
2 Named after the Greek god of the Sun Click to show or hide the answer
3 From the Greek for (a) stone (because it was discovered in a mineral, while other common alkali metals (sodium and potassium) were discovered in plant tissue Click to show or hide the answer
4 After the semi–precious gemstone from which it was first isolated in 1798 Click to show or hide the answer
5 After the mineral from which it was first isolated, by comparison with carbon, which it resembles chemically Click to show or hide the answer
6 From the French word for charcoal – ultimately from the Latin word for coal Click to show or hide the answer
7 From the Greek for 'I bring forth saltpetre' Click to show or hide the answer
8 From the Greek for 'I bring forth acid' Click to show or hide the answer
9 After the mineral from which it was first isolated, whose name is derived from the Latin for 'to flow' Click to show or hide the answer
10 From the Greek for 'new' Click to show or hide the answer
11 From the common names for several of its compounds – from the Latin for a headache remedy Click to show or hide the answer
12 After the mineral from which it was first isolated, which is named after the district in Thessaly, Greece, where it was discovered (an alternative to the name of element no. 25, which has the same source) Click to show or hide the answer
13 From the mineral in which it exists as an element, whose name means 'bitter salt' Click to show or hide the answer
14 From the Latin for flint Click to show or hide the answer
15 From the Greek for 'light bearer' (a name previously used for the Morning Star, which is Venus) Click to show or hide the answer
16 Name goes back to ancient India; abundant in native form (i.e. as the element itself) as well as in compounds Click to show or hide the answer
17 From the Greek for 'pale green' or 'yellowish green' Click to show or hide the answer
18 From the Greek for 'inactive' (literally 'slow') Click to show or hide the answer
19 From the common English name for various salts that contain it in water-soluble form; refers to plant ashes soaked in water Click to show or hide the answer
20 From the Latin for 'lime' (which is its oxide) Click to show or hide the answer
21 From the Latin name for the part of northern Europe where the minerals from which it was first extracted were found Click to show or hide the answer
22 From the Greek name for the planet Earth; also refers to the first sons of Gaia, the personification of the Earth in Greek mythology Click to show or hide the answer
23 From one of the alternative names of Freyja, the Norse goddess of beauty, because of the beauty of its multicoloured compounds Click to show or hide the answer
24 From the Greek for 'colour' Click to show or hide the answer
25 After the mineral from which it was first isolated, which is named after the district in Thessaly, Greece, where it was discovered Click to show or hide the answer
26 From the Anglo–Saxon for 'holy metal' or 'strong metal' Click to show or hide the answer
27 From the German for an evil spirit (miners believed that such spirits had replaced the silver with it) Click to show or hide the answer
28 From the Swedish for colour – the ore from which it was obtained was given a name that means 'copper–coloured' Click to show or hide the answer
29 Named after the Meditrerranean island where it was mined by the ancient Romans Click to show or hide the answer
30 From the German for a prong or point – probably because of its spiky crystals Click to show or hide the answer
31 From the Latin name for France (which is derived from the Latin word for a rooster) Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
32 Because it was discovered in a new mineral that was found near Freiburg, Saxony, in 1885 Click to show or hide the answer
33 From the Persian name for yellow orpiment, which is a mineral that contains it and has been used as a poison since ancient times Click to show or hide the answer
34 After the Greek goddess of the Moon Click to show or hide the answer
35 From the Greek word for a stench (because of its characteristic smell) Click to show or hide the answer
36 From the Greek for 'hidden one' (because of its lack of colour, smell or taste, combined with its rarity) Click to show or hide the answer
37 From the Latin for 'deepest red' – the colour of a spectral line that led to its discovery in 1861 Click to show or hide the answer
38 After the village in Scotland near which it was discovered Click to show or hide the answer
39 After the village in Sweden where its oxide was found, from which the element was identified in 1792 Click to show or hide the answer
40  From the Persian for 'gold–like' Click to show or hide the answer
41 Named after the daughter of Tantalus, in Greek mythology; it sits above tantalum in the periodic table (and shares many properties with it) Click to show or hide the answer
42 From the Greek for lead – because its principal ore was often confused with galena, the principal ore of lead Click to show or hide the answer
43 From the Greek for 'artificial' or 'man–made', because it was the first element to be produced artificially Click to show or hide the answer
44 From one of the Greek names for Russia – the homeland of the German scientist who discovered it in 1844 Click to show or hide the answer
45 From the Greek word for a rose, because of its rose–red compounds Click to show or hide the answer
46 Named after the third–largest asteroid, which was discovered two years before the element (the second asteroid to be discovered) and was named after the Greek goddess of wisdom and victory Click to show or hide the answer
47 Name goes back to Anglo–Saxon times, and may be related to an ancient middle–eastern word meaning to refine or smelt Click to show or hide the answer
48 Named after a character from Greek mythology: the first Greek hero, and the greatest slayer of monsters before Heracles Click to show or hide the answer
49 Named after the colour of the line in its spectrum, which led to its dicovery in 1864 Click to show or hide the answer
50 Name is common to all Germanic languages and can be traced to the roots of those languages within the Indo–European group Click to show or hide the answer
51Possibly from the Greek for 'opposed to solitude', because it was believed never to exist in its pure form; alternatively, it may be from the French for 'monk–killer' ('monk's bane'), because many early alchemists were monks and the element is poisonous Click to show or hide the answer
52 Named after the Latin name for the Earth Click to show or hide the answer
53 Name comes from the Greek word for 'violet',after the colour of its gaseous phase Click to show or hide the answer
54 From the Greek for a stranger or foreigner Click to show or hide the answer
55 From the Latin word meaning 'sky–blue', after the characteristic lines in its spectrum; this was (in 1860) the first element to be discovered by flame spectroscopy Click to show or hide the answer
56 Named after the mineral in which it was first discovered, whose name is derived from the Greek word for 'heavy' Click to show or hide the answer
57 From the Greek meaning 'to lie hidden', because it often occurs along with caesium and its properties are very similar to those of caesium Click to show or hide the answer
58 Named after the largest asteroid and the first to be discovered, which was discovered two years before the element and was named after the Roman goddess of fertility Click to show or hide the answer
59 Name comes from the Greek meaning 'green twin', because it was one of two elements in the mineral didymium, which was named from the Greek meaning 'twin element' because of its similarity to lanthanum, with which it was found – and because its oxide is green Click to show or hide the answer
60 Name comes from the Greek meaning 'new twin', because it was one of two elements in the mineral didymium, which was named from the Greek meaning 'twin element' because of its similarity to lanthanum, with which it was found Click to show or hide the answer
61 Named after the Titan, in Greek mythology, who was the creator of mankind and its greatest benefactor, who stole fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to mankind Click to show or hide the answer
62 Named after the mineral from which it was first isolated, which in turn was named after the Russian mining official who granted access to samples of the mineral. The first element to be named after a person Click to show or hide the answer
63 Named after the continent where it was discovered Click to show or hide the answer
64 Named after the Finnish chemist who was one of the founders of Nordic chemistry research, and who discovered yttrium Click to show or hide the answer
65 The second element to be named after the village in Sweden that was the source of the mineral from which all four were identified – this one in 1843 Click to show or hide the answer
66 From the Greek for 'hard to get', because the French chemist who discovered it made more than 30 attempts to isolate it from its oxide Click to show or hide the answer
67 Named after the home town of the Swedish chemist who discovered it in 1878 Click to show or hide the answer
68 The third element to be named after the village in Sweden that was the source of the mineral from which all four were identified – this one in 1843 Click to show or hide the answer
69 Name is an ancient Greek and Roman name for a mythical country in the far North – often associated with Scandinavia or Iceland Click to show or hide the answer
70 The fourth element to be named after the village in Sweden that was the source of the mineral from which all four were identified – this one in 1878 Click to show or hide the answer
71 Named from the Latin name for Paris Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
72 Named from the Latin name for Copenhagen, where it was discovered in 1923 Click to show or hide the answer
73 Named after the character from Greek mythology who was punished after death by being condemned to stand knee–deep in water, which receded if he bent to drink it. This was considered analogous to the element's non–reactivity Click to show or hide the answer
74 The name used in English and French (and many other languages) is based on the Swedish and Danish phrase meaning 'heavy stone'. A different name is used in German (and many other languages, including the Nordic ones) Click to show or hide the answer
75 Named from the Latin name for the river Rhine Click to show or hide the answer
76 From the Greek word for a smell – because of its foul–smelling tetroxide Click to show or hide the answer
77 Named after the Greek goddess of rainbows, because many of its salts are strongly coloured Click to show or hide the answer
78 From the Spanish for 'little silver', because it was first discovered in a silver mine Click to show or hide the answer
79 From Anglo–Saxon; ultimately from a Proto–Indo–European word meaning 'yellow' or 'bright' Click to show or hide the answer
80 Named after the messenger of the gods in Roman mythology Click to show or hide the answer
81 From a Greek word meaning a green shoot or twig, because of its bright green spectral emission lines Click to show or hide the answer
82 Name is of Germanic origin – in other words, very old, its etymology lost in the mists of time Click to show or hide the answer
83 Name is derived from a German word, possibly originally meaning 'white mass' – from its appearance Click to show or hide the answer
84 Named after the home country of Marie Curie, who discovered it in 1898 along with her husband Pierre Click to show or hide the answer
85 Name comes from a Greek word meaning 'unstable' Click to show or hide the answer
86 Name indicates that it appears in the radioactive decay of radium Click to show or hide the answer
87 Named after France – because it was discovered at the Curie Institute in Paris Click to show or hide the answer
88 From the Latin word for a ray – because of its radioactivity Click to show or hide the answer
89 From the Greek word for a ray or beam Click to show or hide the answer
90 Named after the Norse god of thunder Click to show or hide the answer
91 Derived from the Greek for 'first ray' Click to show or hide the answer
92 Named after the planet that was discovered in 1781 – eight years before the element; the planet was named after the Greek god of the sky and heaven Click to show or hide the answer
93 Named after the next planet to be discovered after the one that gave its name to the previous element (in atomic number order); the planet was discovered in 1846, the element in 1940 Click to show or hide the answer
94 Continues the naming sequence of the previous two elements: named after the planet (now a minor planet) that was discovered in 1930; the element was first produced and isolated in 1940 Click to show or hide the answer
95 Named after the continent in which it was first produced in 1944, by analogy with europium Click to show or hide the answer
96 Named in honour of the married couple who discovered radium and researched radioactivity Click to show or hide the answer
97 Named after the location of the University of California, where it was discovered in 1949 Click to show or hide the answer
98 Named after the university where it was first produced in 1950, and its home state Click to show or hide the answer
99 Named in honour of the German–born scientist who proposed the theory of relativity and discovered the law of the photoelectric effect – a pivotal step in the evolution of quantum theory Click to show or hide the answer
100 Named in honour of the Italian–born physicist who developed the first nuclear reactor, quantum theory, nuclear and particle physics, and statistical mechanics Click to show or hide the answer
101 Named in honour of the inventor of the periodic table Click to show or hide the answer
102 Named in honour of the inventor of dynamite, who went on to become one of history's most famous philanthropists Click to show or hide the answer
103 Named in honour of the American nuclear scientist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1939 for his invention of the cyclotron Click to show or hide the answer
104 Named in honour of the New Zealand physicist who came to be known as the father of nuclear physics Click to show or hide the answer
105 Named after the Russian town, home of the USSR's Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, where it was first produced in 1968 Click to show or hide the answer
106 Named in honour of the US chemist who discovered the chemistry of the transuranium elements, shared in the discovery and isolation of ten elements, and developed and proposed the actinide series Click to show or hide the answer
107 Named in honour of the Danish physicist who made fundamental contributions to the understanding of atomic structure and quantum mechanics Click to show or hide the answer
108 Given the Latin name of the German state that's home to Germany's centre for research on and with heavy–ion accelerators, where it was discovered in 1984 Click to show or hide the answer
109 Named in honour of the Austrian physicist who shared the discovery of nuclear fission – the only element that's named after a woman Click to show or hide the answer
110 Named after the German town that's home to Germany's centre for research on and with heavy–ion accelerators, where it was discovered in 1994 Click to show or hide the answer
111 Named in honour of the German physicist who discovered X–rays Click to show or hide the answer
112 Named in honour of the Polish astronomer who first proposed that the Earth revolved around the Sun, and not vice versa Click to show or hide the answer
113 Named after the country where it was first synthesised in 2004 Click to show or hide the answer
114 Named after a laboratory at the Russian Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, which in turn is named after the Soviet nuclear physicist who discovered spontaneous fission Click to show or hide the answer
115 Named after the local government centre for the Russian Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (also the nation's capital city) Click to show or hide the answer
116 Named after the US research station responsible for ensuring the safety, security and reliability of the USA's nuclear weapons Click to show or hide the answer
117 Named after the US state that's home to a National Laboratory and two universities that carry out research into superheavy elements Click to show or hide the answer
118 Named after the Russian nuclear physicist who pioneered transactnide research Click to show or hide the answer

Note that elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 have not yet (as of October 2016) been officially named. The names given here have been proposed, but have not yet been officially sanctioned.

© Haydn Thompson 2017