Origins of the Elements Names

Atomic No.SymbolNameName Origin
1HHydrogenfrom the Greek elements hydro- and -gen meaning ‘water-forming’
2HeHeliumfrom the Greek word Helios, meaning ‘sun’
3LiLithiumthe Greek word lithos, meaning ‘stone’
4BeBerylliumfrom beryl, a mineral
5BBoronfrom borax, a mineral
6CCarbonthe Latin word carbo, meaning ‘coal’
7NNitrogenfrom the Greek word nitron and ‘-gen’ meaning ‘niter-forming’
8OOxygenfrom the Greek word oxy-, both ‘sharp’ and ‘acid’, and -gen, meaning ‘acid-forming’
9FFluorinefrom the Latin fluere, meaning ‘to flow’
10NeNeonfrom the Greek neos, meaning ‘new’
11NaSodiumfrom the English word soda (natrium in Latin)
12MgMagnesiumfrom Magnesia, a district of Eastern Thessaly in Greece
13AlAluminiumfrom alumina, a compound (originally aluminum)
14SiSiliconfrom the Latin silex, ‘flint’ (originally silicium)
15PPhosphorusfrom the Greek word phosphorus, ‘carrying light’
16SSulfurfrom the Latin word sulphur, ‘fire and brimstone’
17ClChlorinefrom the Greek word chloros, meaning ‘greenish yellow’
18ArArgonfrom the Greek word argos, meaning ‘idle’
19KPotassiumfrom New Latin potassa, ‘potash’ (kalium in Latin)
20CaCalciumfrom the Latin calx, meaning ‘lime’
21ScScandiumfrom Scandia, the Latin name for Scandinavia
22TiTitaniumfrom Titans, the sons of the Earth goddess of Greek mythology
23VVanadiumfrom Vanadis, an Old Norse name for the Norse goddess Freyja
24CrChromiumfrom the Greek word chroma, meaning ‘color’
25MnManganesefrom magnesia negra
26FeIronfrom English word (ferrum in Latin)
27CoCobaltfrom the German word Kobold, meaning ‘goblin’
28NiNickelfrom Swedish kopparnickel, containing the German word Nickel, ‘goblin’
29CuCopperfrom English word (Latin cuprum)
30ZnZincfrom the German word Zink
31GaGalliumfrom Gallia, the Latin name for France
32GeGermaniumfrom Germania, the Latin name for Germany
33AsArsenicEnglish word (Latin arsenicum)
34SeSeleniumfrom the Greek selene, meaning ‘moon’
35BrBrominefrom the Greek bromos, meaning ‘stench’
36KrKryptonfrom the Greek kryptos, meaning ‘hidden’
37RbRubidiumfrom the Latin rubidus, meaning ‘deep red’
38SrStrontiumfrom Strontian, a small town in Scotland
39YYttriumfrom Ytterby, Sweden
40ZrZirconiumfrom Persian Zargun, ‘gold-colored’; German Zirkoon, ‘jargoon’
41NbNiobiumfrom Niobe, daughter of king Tantalus from Greek mythology
42MoMolybdenumfrom the Greek word molybdos meaning ‘lead’
43TcTechnetiumfrom the Greek tekhnètos meaning ‘artificial’
44RuRutheniumfrom Ruthenia, the New Latin name for Russia
45RhRhodiumfrom the Greek rhodos, meaning ‘rose coloured’
47AgSilverfrom English word (argentum in Latin)
48CdCadmiumfrom the New Latin cadmia, from King Kadmos
49InIndiumfrom indigo
50SnTinfrom English word (stannum in Latin)
51SbAntimonyfrom the Greek anti, ‘against’, and monos, ‘alone’ (stibium in Latin)
52TeTelluriumfrom Latin tellus, meaning ‘earth’
53IIodinefrom French iode (after the Greek ioeides, ‘violet’)
54XeXenonfrom the Greek xenos, meaning ‘strange’
55CsCesiumfrom the Latin caesius, meaning ‘sky blue’
56BaBariumfrom the Greek barys, meaning ‘heavy’
57LaLanthanumfrom the Greek lanthanein, meaning ‘to lie hidden’
59PrPraseodymiufrom the Greek praseios didymos meaning ‘green twin’
60NdNeodymiumfrom the Greek neos didymos meaning ‘new twin’
61PmPromethiumfrom Prometheus of Greek mythology who stole fire from the Gods and gave it to humans
62SmSamariumfrom Samarskite, the name of the mineral from which it was first isolated
63EuEuropiumfrom Europe
64GdGadoliniumfrom Johan Gadolin, chemist, physicist and mineralogist
65TbTerbiumfrom Ytterby, Sweden
66DyDysprosiumfrom the Greek dysprositos, meaning ‘hard to get’
67HoHolmiumfrom Holmia, the New Latin name for Stockholm
68ErErbiumfrom Ytterby, Sweden
69TmThuliumfrom Thule, the ancient name for Scandinavia
70YbYtterbiumfrom Ytterby, Sweden
71LuLutetiumfrom Lutetia, the Latin name for Paris
72HfHafniumfrom Hafnia, the New Latin name for Copenhagen
73TaTantalumfrom King Tantalus, father of Niobe from Greek mythology
74WTungstenfrom the Swedish tung sten, ‘heavy stone’ (W is wolfram, the old name of the tungsten mineral wolframite)
75ReRheniumfrom Rhenus, the Latin name for the river Rhine
76OsOsmiumfrom the Greek osmè, meaning ‘smell’
77IrIridiumfrom Iris, the Greek goddess of the rainbow
78PtPlatinumfrom the Spanish platina, meaning ‘little silver’
79AuGoldfrom English word (aurum in Latin)
80HgMercuryfrom the New Latin name mercurius, named after the Roman god (Hg from former name hydrargyrum, from Greek hydr-, ‘water’, and argyros, ‘silver’)
81TlThalliumfrom the Greek thallos, ‘green twig’
82PbLeadfrom English word (plumbum in Latin)
83BiBismuthfrom German word, now obsolete
84PoPoloniumfrom Named after the home country of Marie Curie(Poland), who is also the discoverer of Radium
85AtAstatinefrom the Greek astatos, ‘unstable’
86RnRadonFrom radium, as it was first detected as an emission from radium during radioactive decay
87FrFranciumfrom Francia, the New Latin name for France
88RaRadiumfrom the Latin radius, ‘ray’
89AcActiniumfrom the Greek aktis, ‘ray’
90ThThoriumfrom Thor, the Scandinavian god of thunder
91PaProtactiniumfrom the Greek protos, ‘first’, and actinium, which is produced through the radioactive decay of protactinium
92UUraniumfrom Uranus, the seventh planet in the Solar System
93NpNeptuniumfrom Neptune, the eighth planet in the Solar System
94PuPlutoniumfrom Pluto, a dwarf planet in the Solar System (then considered the ninth planet)
95AmAmericiumfrom The Americas, as the element was first synthesized on the continent, by analogy with europium
96CmCuriumfrom Pierre Curie, a physicist, and Marie Curie, a physicist and chemist, named after great scientists by analogy with gadolinium
97BkBerkeliumfrom Berkeley, California, where the element was first synthesized, by analogy with terbium
98CfCaliforniumfrom California, where the element was first synthesized
99EsEinsteiniumfrom Albert Einstein, physicist
100FmFermiumfrom Enrico Fermi, physicist
101MdMendeleviufrom Dmitri Mendeleev, chemist and inventor
102NoNobeliumfrom Alfred Nobel, chemist, engineer, innovator, and armaments manufacturer
103LrLawrenciumfrom Ernest O. Lawrence, physicist
104RfRutherfordiufrom Ernest Rutherford, chemist and physicist
105DbDubniumfrom Dubna, Russia
106SgSeaborgiumfrom Glenn T. Seaborg, scientist
107BhBohriumfrom Niels Bohr, physicist
108HsHassiumfrom Hesse, Germany, where the element was first synthesized
109MtMeitneriumfrom Lise Meitner, physicist
110DsDarmstadtiufrom Darmstadt, Germany, where the element was first synthesized
111RgRoentgeniufrom Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, physicist
112CnCoperniciumfrom Nicolaus Copernicus, astronomer
113NhNihoniumfrom the Japanese name for Japan, Nihon, where the element was first synthesized
114FlFleroviumfrom Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions, part of JINR where the element was synthesized; itself named for Georgy Flyorov, physicist
115McMoscoviumfrom Moscow Oblast, Russia, where the element was first synthesized
116LvLivermoriumfrom Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (in Livermore, California) which collaborated with JINR on its synthesis
117TsTennessinefrom Tennessee, United States
118OgOganessonfrom Yuri Oganessian, physicist