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In
chemistry Chemistry is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. T ...

chemistry
, a trivial name is a non
systematic nameA systematic name is a name given in a systematic way to one unique group, organism, object or chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and ...
for a
chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimately composed of atoms, which ...
. That is, the name is not recognized according to the rules of any formal system of
chemical nomenclature A chemical nomenclature is a set of rules to generate systematic nameA systematic name is a name given in a systematic way to one unique group, organism, object or chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical ph ...
such as IUPAC inorganic or IUPAC organic nomenclature. A trivial name is not a formal name and is usually a common name. Generally, trivial names are not useful in describing the essential properties of the thing being named. Properties such as the molecular structure of a chemical compound are not indicated. And, in some cases, trivial names can be ambiguous or will carry different meanings in different industries or in different geographic regions. (For example, a trivial name such as ''
white metal The white metals are a series of often decorative bright metal alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared ...
'' can mean various things.) Trivial names are simpler. As a result, a limited number of trivial chemical names are retained names, an accepted part of the nomenclature. Trivial names often arise in the common language; they may come from historic usages in, for example,
alchemy Alchemy (from Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countri ...
. Many trivial names pre-date the institution of formal naming conventions. Names can be based on a property of the chemical, including appearance (color, taste or smell), consistency, and crystal structure; a place where it was found or where the discoverer comes from; the name of a scientist; a mythological figure; an astronomical body; the shape of the molecule; and even fictional figures. All elements that have been isolated have trivial names.


Definitions

In scientific documents, international treaties, patents and legal definitions, names for chemicals are needed that identify them unambiguously. This need is satisfied by
systematic nameA systematic name is a name given in a systematic way to one unique group, organism, object or chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and ...
s. One such system, established by the
International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC ) is an international federation of National Adhering Organizations that represents chemists in individual countries. It is a member of the International Science Council (ISC). IUPAC ...
(IUPAC), was established in 1950. Other systems have been developed by the
American Chemical Society The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a scientific society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization that exists to promote an discipline (academia), academic discip ...
, the
International Organization for Standardization The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic discipline ...
, and the
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each other through the co-ordinating machinery of the Unit ...
. However, chemists still use many names that are not systematic because they are traditional or because they are more convenient than the systematic names. These are called ''trivial names''. The word "trivial", often used in a pejorative sense, was intended to mean "commonplace". In addition to trivial names, chemists have constructed ''semi-trivial names'' by appending a standard symbol to a trivial stem. Some trivial and semi-trivial names are so widely used that they have been officially adopted by IUPAC; these are known as '' retained names''.


Elements

Traditional names of elements are trivial, some originating in
alchemy Alchemy (from Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countri ...
. IUPAC has accepted these names, but has also defined systematic names of elements that have not yet been prepared. It has adopted a procedure by which the scientists who are credited with preparing an element can propose a new name. Once the IUPAC has accepted such a (trivial) name, it replaces the systematic name.


Origins

Nine elements were known by the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
:
gold Gold is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elemen ...

gold
,
silver Silver is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical ele ...

silver
,
tin Tin is a with the Sn (from la, ) and  50. Tin is a silvery-colored metal that characteristically has a faint yellow hue. Tin is soft enough to be cut with little force and a bar of tin can be bent by hand with little effort. When bent ...

tin
,
mercury Mercury usually refers to: * Mercury (planet) Mercury is the smallest planet in the Solar System and the closest to the Sun. Its orbit around the Sun takes 87.97 Earth days, the shortest of all the Sun's planets. It is named after the Roman g ...

mercury
,
copper Copper is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elem ...

copper
,
lead Lead is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elements ...

lead
,
iron Iron () is a chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behav ...

iron
,
sulfur Sulfur (in nontechnical British English: sulphur) is a chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: th ...

sulfur
, and
carbon Carbon (from la, carbo "coal") is a with the C and 6. It is lic and —making four s available to form s. It belongs to group 14 of the periodic table. Carbon makes up only about 0.025 percent of Earth's crust. Three occur naturally, ...

carbon
. Mercury was named after the planet, but its symbol was derived from the Latin ''hydrargyrum'', which itself comes from the greek ''υδράργυρος'', meaning liquid silver; mercury is also known as quicksilver in English. The symbols for the other eight are derived from their Latin names. Systematic nomenclature began after
Louis-Bernard Guyton de Morveau Louis-Bernard Guyton, Baron de Morveau (also Louis-Bernard Guyton-Morveau after the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended in coup of 18 Brumaire, November 1 ...

Louis-Bernard Guyton de Morveau
stated the need for “a constant method of denomination, which helps the intelligence and relieves the memory”. The resulting system was popularized by
Antoine Lavoisier Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier ( , ,; 26 August 17438 May 1794), When reduced without charcoal, it gave off an air which supported respiration and combustion in an enhanced way. He concluded that this was just a pure form of common air and t ...

Antoine Lavoisier
's publication of ''Méthode de nomenclature chimique'' (Method of Chemical Nomenclature) in 1787. Lavoisier proposed that elements be named after their properties. For the next 125 years, most chemists followed this suggestion, using Greek and Latin roots to compose the names; for example,
hydrogen Hydrogen is the chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol H and atomic number 1. Hydrogen is the lightest element. At standard temperature and pressure, standard conditions hydrogen is a gas of diatomic molecules having the che ...

hydrogen
("water-producing"),
oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same ...

oxygen
("acid-producing"),
nitrogen Nitrogen is the chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science ...

nitrogen
("soda-producing"),
bromine Bromine is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elemen ...

bromine
("stink"), and argon were based on Greek roots, while the names of
iodine Iodine is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical ele ...

iodine
and
chlorine Chlorine is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemica ...

chlorine
were derived from the Greek words for their characteristic colors.
Indium Indium is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that c ...

Indium
,
rubidium Rubidium is the chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science th ...

rubidium
, and
thallium Thallium is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science tha ...

thallium
were similarly named for the colors of particular lines in their emission spectra.
Iridium Iridium is a chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, beh ...

Iridium
, which forms compounds of many different colors, takes its name from ''iris'', the Latin for "rainbow". The
noble gases The noble gases (historically also the inert gases; sometimes referred to as aerogens) make up a class of chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In ...
have all been named for their origin or properties.
Helium Helium (from el, ἥλιος, helios Helios; Homeric Greek: ), Latinized as Helius; Hyperion and Phaethon are also the names of his father and son respectively. often given the epithets Hyperion ("the one above") and Phaethon ("the shining" ...

Helium
comes from the Greek ''helios'', meaning "Sun" because it was first detected as a line in the spectrum of the Sun (it is not known why the suffix ''-ium'', which is used for metals, was chosen). The other noble gases are
neon Neon is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that co ...

neon
("new"),
argon Argon is a chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behav ...

argon
("slow, lazy"),
krypton Krypton (from grc, κρυπτός, translit=kryptos 'the hidden one') is a chemical element with the symbol (chemistry), symbol Kr and atomic number 36. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless noble gas that occurs in trace element, tr ...

krypton
("hidden"),
xenon Xenon is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elemen ...

xenon
("stranger"), and
radon Radon is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that c ...

radon
("from radium"). Many more elements have been given names that have little or nothing to do with their properties. Elements have been named for celestial bodies (
helium Helium (from el, ἥλιος, helios Helios; Homeric Greek: ), Latinized as Helius; Hyperion and Phaethon are also the names of his father and son respectively. often given the epithets Hyperion ("the one above") and Phaethon ("the shining" ...

helium
,
selenium Selenium is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that ...

selenium
,
tellurium Tellurium is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that ...

tellurium
, for the Sun, Moon, and Earth;
cerium Cerium is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that ...

cerium
and
palladium Palladium is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elem ...

palladium
for
Ceres Ceres most commonly refers to: * Ceres (dwarf planet) Ceres (; minor-planet designation: 1 Ceres) is the smallest recognized dwarf planet, the closest dwarf planet to the Sun, and the List of notable asteroids, largest object in the main astero ...
and , two
asteroid An asteroid is a minor planet of the Solar System#Inner solar system, inner Solar System. Historically, these terms have been applied to any astronomical object orbiting the Sun that did not resolve into a disc in a telescope and was not observ ...

asteroid
s). They have been named for mythological figures, including
Titan Titan most often refers to: * Titan (moon), the largest moon of Saturn * Titans, a race of deities in Greek mythology Titan or Titans may also refer to: Arts and entertainment Fictional entities Fictional locations * Titan in fiction, fictional ...
s in general (
titanium Titanium is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical ele ...

titanium
) and
Prometheus In , Prometheus (; , , possibly meaning "")Smith"Prometheus". is a god of fire. Prometheus is best known for defying the gods by from them and giving it to humanity in the form of technology, knowledge, and more generally, . In some versions ...

Prometheus
in particular (
promethium Promethium is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same n ...

promethium
); Roman and Greek gods (
uranium Uranium is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elem ...

uranium
,
neptunium Neptunium is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elemen ...

neptunium
, and
plutonium Plutonium is a radioactive Radioactive decay (also known as nuclear decay, radioactivity, radioactive disintegration or nuclear disintegration) is the process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by radiation. A material co ...

plutonium
) and their descendants (
tantalum Tantalum is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that ...

tantalum
for
Tantalus Tantalus ( grc, Τάνταλος: ) was a Greek mythology, Greek mythological figure, most famous for his punishment in Tartarus. He was also called Atys. He was made to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches, with the f ...
, a son of Zeus, and
niobium Niobium, also known as columbium, is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Nb (formerly Cb) and atomic number 41. Niobium is a light grey, crystalline, and ductile transition metal. Pure niobium has a Mohs scale of mineral har ...

niobium
for
Niobe In , Niobe (; grc-gre, Νιόβη ) was a daughter of and of either , the most frequently cited, or of or , the wife of and the sister of and . Her father was the ruler of a city located near in today's Aegean Turkey that was called "Ta ...

Niobe
, a daughter of Tantalus); and Norse deities (
vanadium Vanadium is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science tha ...

vanadium
for the goddess Vanadis and
thorium Thorium is a weakly radioactive Radioactive decay (also known as nuclear decay, radioactivity, radioactive disintegration or nuclear disintegration) is the process by which an unstable atomic nucleus The atomic nucleus is the sma ...

thorium
for the god
Thor In Germanic mythology, Thor (; from non, Þórr ) is a hammer-wielding æsir, god associated with lightning, thunder, storms, sacred trees and groves in Germanic paganism and mythology, sacred groves and trees, Physical strength, strength, the ...

Thor
). Some elements were named for aspects of the history of their discovery. In particular,
technetium Technetium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Tc and atomic number 43. It is the lightest element whose isotopes are all radioactive. Nearly all available technetium is produced as a synthetic element. Naturally occurring t ...

technetium
and
promethium Promethium is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same n ...

promethium
were so named because the first samples detected were artificially synthesised; neither of the two has any isotope sufficiently stable to occur in nature on Earth in significant quantities. The connection to the Titan Prometheus was that he had been fabled to have stolen fire from the gods for mankind. Discoverers of some elements named them after their home country or city.
Marie Curie Marie Salomea Skłodowska Curie ( ; ; , born Maria Salomea Skłodowska ; 7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist A physicist is a scientist A scientist is a person who conducts Scientific meth ...

Marie Curie
named
polonium Polonium is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical eleme ...

polonium
after
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
;
ruthenium Ruthenium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ru and atomic number 44. It is a rare transition metal belonging to the platinum group of the periodic table. Like the other metals of the platinum group, ruthenium is inert to ...

ruthenium
,
gallium Gallium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ga and atomic number 31. Discovered by France, French chemist Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran in 1875, Gallium is in boron group, group 13 of the periodic table and is ...

gallium
,
germanium Germanium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ge and atomic number 32. It is a lustrous, hard-brittle, grayish-white metalloid in the carbon group, chemically similar to its group neighbors silicon and tin. Pure germanium i ...

germanium
, and
lutetium Lutetium is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbe ...

lutetium
were based on the Latin names for Russia, France, Germany, and Paris. Other elements are named after the place where they were discovered. Four elements—
terbium Terbium is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbe ...

terbium
,
erbium Erbium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Er and atomic number 68. A silvery-white solid metal when artificially isolated, natural erbium is always found in chemical combination with other elements. It is a lanthanide, a rare ...

erbium
,
ytterbium Ytterbium is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical eleme ...

ytterbium
, and
yttrium Yttrium is a with the Y and 39. It is a silvery-metallic chemically similar to the s and has often been classified as a "". Yttrium is almost always found in combination with lanthanide elements in s, and is never found in nature as a free ...

yttrium
—were named after the Swedish village
Ytterby Ytterby () is a village on the Swedish island of Resarö, in Vaxholm Municipality in the Stockholm archipelago. Today the residential area is dominated by suburban homes. The name of the village translates to "outer village". Ytterby is perh ...
, where ores containing them were extracted. Other elements named after places are
magnesium Magnesium is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science ...

magnesium
(after Magnesia),
strontium Strontium is the chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science ...

strontium
,
scandium Scandium is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science tha ...

scandium
,
europium Europium is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numb ...

europium
,
thulium Thulium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Tm and atomic number 69. It is the thirteenth and third-last element in the lanthanide series. Like the other lanthanides, the most common oxidation state is +3, seen in its oxide, ...

thulium
(after an old Roman name for an unidentified northern region),
holmium Holmium is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbe ...

holmium
,
copper Copper is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elem ...

copper
(derived from
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or poli ...

Cyprus
, where it was mined in the Roman era),
hafnium Hafnium is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same num ...

hafnium
,
rhenium Rhenium is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical eleme ...

rhenium
,
americium Americium is a synthetic radioactive Radioactive decay (also known as nuclear decay, radioactivity, radioactive disintegration or nuclear disintegration) is the process by which an unstable atomic nucleus The atomic nucleus is the ...

americium
,
berkelium Berkelium is a transuranic element, transuranic radioactive decay, radioactive chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Bk and atomic number 97. It is a member of the actinide and transuranium element series. It is named after the ...

berkelium
,
californium Californium is a radioactive Radioactive decay (also known as nuclear decay, radioactivity, radioactive disintegration or nuclear disintegration) is the process by which an unstable atomic nucleus The atomic nucleus is the small, dens ...

californium
, and
darmstadtium Darmstadtium is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the sam ...

darmstadtium
. For the elements up to 92 (uranium), naming elements after people was discouraged. The two exceptions are indirect, the elements being named after minerals that were themselves named after people. These were
gadolinium Gadolinium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Gd and atomic number 64. Gadolinium is a silvery-white metal when oxidation is removed. It is only slightly malleable and is a ductile rare-earth element. Gadolinium reacts with ...

gadolinium
(found in
gadolinite Gadolinite, sometimes known as ytterbite, is a silicate mineral consisting principally of the silicates of cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, yttrium, beryllium, and iron with the formula . It is called gadolinite-(Ce) or gadolinite-(Y), depending on th ...
, named after the Finnish chemist
Johan Gadolin Johan Gadolin (5 June 176015 August 1852) was a Finnish chemist, physicist and mineralogist. Gadolin discovered a " new earth" containing the first rare-earth compound yttrium, which was later determined to be a chemical element. He is also ...

Johan Gadolin
) and
samarium Samarium is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that c ...

samarium
(the mineral
samarskite Samarskite is a radioactive rare earth mineral series which includes samarskite-(Y) with formula: (Yttrium, YFe3+Fe2+U,Th,Ca)2(Nb,Ta)2O8 and samarskite-(Yb) with formula (Ytterbium, YbFe3+)2(Nb,Ta)2O8. The formula for samarskite-(Y) is also given a ...

samarskite
was named after a Russian mining engineer,
Vasili Samarsky-Bykhovets Vasili Yevgrafovich Samarsky-Bykhovets (russian: Василий Евграфович Самарский-Быховец; November 7, 1803 – May 31, 1870) was a Russians, Russian mining engineer and the chief of Russian Mining Engineering Corps betw ...
). Among the
transuranium element The transuranium elements (also known as transuranic elements) are the chemical elements with atomic numbers greater than 92, which is the atomic number of uranium. All of these elements are unstable and Radioactive decay, decay radioactively into ...
s, this restriction was relaxed; there followed
curium Curium is a transuranic The transuranium elements (also known as transuranic elements) are the chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry ...

curium
(after the Curies),
einsteinium Einsteinium is a synthetic element 441px, A synthetic element is one of 24 chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pu ...

einsteinium
(
Albert Einstein Albert Einstein ( ; ; 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist, widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest physicists of all time. Einstein is known for developing the theory of relativity The theo ...

Albert Einstein
),
fermium Fermium is a synthetic element A synthetic element is one of 24 known chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure su ...

fermium
(
Enrico Fermi Enrico Fermi (; 29 September 1901 - 28 November 1954) was an Italian (later naturalized American) physicist and the creator of the world's first nuclear reactor, the Chicago Pile-1. He has been called the "architect of the nuclear age" and ...

Enrico Fermi
),
mendelevium Mendelevium is a synthetic element 441px, A synthetic element is one of 24 chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pur ...

mendelevium
(
Dmitri Mendeleev Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev (sometimes transliterated as Mendeleyev or Mendeleef) ( ; russian: links=no, Дмитрий Иванович Менделеев,In Mendeleev's day, his name was written . Romanization of Russian, tr. , ; 8 February ...

Dmitri Mendeleev
),
nobelium Nobelium is a syntheticA synthetic is an artificial material produced by organic chemistry, organic chemical synthesis. Synthetic may also refer to: In the sense of both "combination" and "artificial" * Synthetic chemical or synthetic compr ...

nobelium
(
Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard Nobel ( , ; 21 October 1833 – 10 December 1896) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, businessman, and philanthropist. He held 355 different patents A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectu ...

Alfred Nobel
) and
lawrencium Lawrencium is a syntheticA synthetic is an artificial material produced by organic chemistry, organic chemical synthesis. Synthetic may also refer to: In the sense of both "combination" and "artificial" * Synthetic chemical or synthetic comp ...

lawrencium
(
Ernest Lawrence Ernest Orlando Lawrence (August 8, 1901 – August 27, 1958) was a pioneering American nuclear scientist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1939 for his invention of the cyclotron. He is known for his work on uranium-isotope sepa ...

Ernest Lawrence
).


Relation to IUPAC standards

IUPAC has established international standards for naming elements. The first scientist or laboratory to isolate an element has the right to propose a name; after a review process, a final decision is made by the IUPAC Council. In keeping with tradition, names can be based on a mythological concept or character, astronomical object, mineral, place, property of the element or scientist. For those elements that have not yet been discovered, IUPAC has established a systematic name system. The names combine syllables that represent the digits of the
atomic number The atomic number or proton number (symbol ''Z'') of a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. ...
, followed by "-ium". For example, "unununium" is element 111 ("un" being the syllable for 1). However, once the element has been found, the systematic name is replaced by a trivial one, in this case
roentgenium Roentgenium is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same ...

roentgenium
. The IUPAC names for elements are intended for use in the official languages. At the time of the first edition of the IUPAC Red Book (which contains the rules for inorganic compounds), those languages were English and French; now English is the sole official language. However, other languages still have their own names for elements. The chemical symbol for
tungsten Tungsten, or wolfram, is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, ch ...

tungsten
, W, is based on the German name , which is found in
wolframite Wolframite, (Fe,Mn)WO4, is an iron Iron () is a chemical element with Symbol (chemistry), symbol Fe (from la, Wikt:ferrum, ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first transition series and group 8 element, group 8 of ...
and comes from the German for "wolf's foam", how the mineral was known to Saxon miners. The name ''tungsten'' means "heavy stone", a description of
scheelite Scheelite is a calcium Calcium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ca and atomic number 20. As an alkaline earth metal, calcium is a reactive metal that forms a dark oxide-nitride layer when exposed to air. Its physical ...

scheelite
, another mineral in which tungsten is found. Russian names for hydrogen, oxygen and carbon are ''vodorod'', ''kislorod'' and ''uglerod'' (generating water, acid and coal respectively). The German names for hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen are (water substance), (acid substance), and (smothering substance). The corresponding Chinese names are ''qīngqì'' (light gas), ''yǎngqì'' (nourishing gas), and ''dànqì'' (diluting gas). A method for translating chemical names into Chinese was developed by John Fryer and Xu Shou in 1871. Where traditional names were well established, they kept them; otherwise, a single character was created.


Inorganic chemistry

Early terminology for compound chemicals followed similar rules to the naming of elements. The names could be based on the appearance of the substance, including all five senses. In addition, chemicals were named after the consistency, crystalline form, a person or place, its putative medical properties or method of preparation. Salt (
sodium chloride Sodium chloride , commonly known as salt (although sea salt also contains other chemical salt (chemistry), salts), is an ionic compound with the chemical formula NaCl, representing a 1:1 ratio of sodium and chloride ions. With Molar mass, molar ...
) is soluble and is used to enhance the taste of food. Substances with similar properties came to be known as salts, in particular ''Epsom salt'' (
magnesium sulfate Magnesium sulfate or magnesium sulphate (in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial ...

magnesium sulfate
, found in a bitter saline spring in the English town of
Epsom Epsom is the principal town of the Borough of Epsom and Ewell Epsom and Ewell () is a Non-metropolitan district, local government district with borough status in Surrey, England, covering the towns of Epsom and Ewell. The borough was formed ...
).
Ammonium The ammonium cation An ion () is an atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects t ...

Ammonium
(with the little-used formal name nitrogen trihydride) was first extracted from
sal ammoniac Salammoniac, also sal ammoniac or salmiac, is a rare naturally occurring mineral composed of ammonium chloride, NH4Cl. It forms colorless, white, or yellow-brown crystals in the isometric-hexoctahedral class. It has very poor cleavage and is brit ...
, meaning "salt of Amun". Ancient
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...

Romans
noticed crystals of it in
Egyptian temple Egyptian temples were built for the official worship of the gods A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as "a God (male deity), god or goddess (in a poly ...

Egyptian temple
s devoted to the god
Amun Amun (; also ''Amon'', ''Ammon'', ''Amen''; egy, jmn, ''reconstructed'' ; Ancient Greek, Greek ''Ámmōn'', ''Hámmōn'') was a major ancient Egyptian deities, ancient Egyptian deity who appears as a member of the Hermopolis Magna, Hermo ...

Amun
; the crystals had condensed from the smoke of burning camel dung.
Lead acetateLead acetate can refer to: * Lead subacetate (Basic lead acetate), Pb3(OH)4(CH3COO)2 * Lead(IV) acetate Lead(IV) acetate or lead tetraacetate is a chemical compound with chemical formula Pb(C2H3O2)4. It is a colorless solid that is soluble in nonpo ...
was called ''sugar of lead''. However, other names like ''sugar of lead'' (
lead(II) acetate Lead(II) acetate (Pb(CH3COO)2), also known as lead acetate, lead diacetate, plumbous acetate, sugar of lead, lead sugar, salt of Saturn (mythology), Saturn, or Thomas Goulard, Goulard's powder, is a white crystalline chemical compound with a slight ...
), ''butter of antimony'' (
antimony trichloride Antimony trichloride is the chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecular entity, molecular entities) composed of atoms from more than one chemical element, element held togethe ...
), ''oil of vitriol'' (
sulfuric acid Sulfuric acid (American spelling Despite the various English dialects spoken from country to country and within different regions of the same country, there are only slight regional variations in English orthography English orthogra ...

sulfuric acid
), and ''cream of tartar'' (
potassium bitartrate Potassium bitartrate, also known as potassium hydrogen tartrate, with formula potassium, KCarbon, C4hydrogen, H5oxygen, O6, is a byproduct of winemaking. In cooking, it is known as cream of tartar. It is processed from the potassium acid salt o ...

potassium bitartrate
) borrowed their language from the kitchen. Many more names were based on color; for example,
hematite Hematite (), also spelled as haematite, is a common iron oxide Iron oxides are chemical compounds composed of iron and oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element with the chemical symbol, symbol O and atomic number 8. It is a member o ...

hematite
,
orpiment Orpiment is a deep-colored, orange-yellow arsenic sulfide mineral The sulfide minerals are a class of minerals containing sulfide (S2−) or persulfide (S22−) as the major anion. Some sulfide minerals are economically important as metal ore ...

orpiment
, and
verdigris Verdigris is the common name for a green Green is the between and on the . It is evoked by light which has a of roughly 495570 . In systems, used in painting and color printing, it is created by a combination of yellow and ; in th ...
come from words meaning "blood-like stone", "gold pigment", and "green of Greece". Some names are based on their use.
Lime Lime refers to: * Lime (fruit), a green citrus fruit * Lime (material), inorganic materials containing calcium, usually calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide * Lime (color), a color between yellow and green Lime may also refer to: Botany * Austra ...
is a general name for materials combining calcium with carbonates, oxides or hydroxides; the name comes from a root "sticking or adhering"; its earliest use was as Mortar (masonry), mortar for construction. Water has several systematic names, including ''oxidane'' (the IUPAC name), ''hydrogen oxide'', and ''dihydrogen monoxide'' (DHMO). The latter was the basis of the dihydrogen monoxide hoax, a document that was circulated warning readers of the dangers of the chemical (for example, it is drowning, fatal if inhaled).. .


Organic chemistry

In organic chemistry, some trivial names derive from a notable property of the thing being named. For instance, lecithin, the common name for phosphatidylcholine, was originally isolated from egg yolk. The word is coined from the Greek λέκιθος (lékithos) for ''yolk''. Many trivial names continue to be used because their sanctioned equivalents are considered too cumbersome for everyday use. For example, "tartaric acid", a compound found in wine, has a systematic name of 2,3-dihydroxybutanedioic acid. The pigment β-Carotene has an IUPAC name of 1,3,3-trimethyl-2-[(1''E'',3''E'',5''E'',7''E'',9''E'',11''E'',13''E'',15''E'',17''E'')-3,7,12,16-tetramethyl-18-(2,6,6-trimethylcyclohexen-1-yl)octadeca-1,3,5,7,9,11,13,15,17-nonaenyl]cyclohexene. However, the trivial name can be potentially confusing. Based on its name, one might come to the conclusion that the molecule theobromine contains one or more bromine atoms. In reality it is an alkaloid similar in structure to caffeine.


Shape-based

Several organic molecules have semitrivial names where the suffixes ''-ane'' (for an alkane) or ''-ene'' (for an alkene) are added to a name based on the shape of the molecule. Some are pictured below. Other examples include barrelene (shaped like a barrel), fenestrane (having a window-pane motif), ladderane (a ladder shape), olympiadane (having a shape with the same topology as the Olympic rings) and quadratic acid (also known as squaric acid). File:Basketane-2D-skeletal-bold.png, Basketane File:Cuban.svg, Cubane File:Dodecahedrane-3D-vdW.png, Dodecahedrane File:housane.svg, Housane File:Olympicene.svg, Olympicene File:Prismane-stick.png, Prismane File:Tetrahedrane-3D-balls.png, Tetrahedrane


Based on fiction

The bohemic acid complex is a mixture of chemicals obtained through fermentation of a species of actinobacteria. In 1977 the components were isolated and have been found useful as antitumor agents and anthracycline, anthracycline antibiotics. The authors named the complex (and one of its components, bohemamine) after the opera ''La bohème'' by Giacomo Puccini, Puccini, and the remaining components were named after characters in the opera: alcindoromycin (Alcindoro), collinemycin (Colline), marcellomycin (Marcello), mimimycin (Mimi), musettamycin (Musetta), rudolphomycin (Rodolfo) and schaunardimycin (Schaunard). However, the relationships between the characters do not correctly reflect the chemical relationships. A research lab at Lepetit Pharmaceuticals, led by Piero Sensi, was fond of coining nicknames for chemicals that they discovered, later converting them to a form more acceptable for publication. The antibiotic rifampicin was named after a French movie, ''Rififi'', about a jewel heist. They nicknamed another antibiotic "Mata Hari" before changing the name to ''matamycin''.


See also

* List of chemical compounds with unusual names * IUPAC nomenclature of organic chemistry#Common nomenclature – trivial names, Organic chemistry: Common nomenclature – trivial names


References


Further reading

* * * * * * * *


External links


Appendix 13: Trivial names still in common use for selected inorganic and organic compounds, inorganic ions and organic substituents
{{DEFAULTSORT:Trivial Name Chemical nomenclature