calcium

The name of calcium, element number 20, comes from the Latin calx, meaning lime, + the -ium suffix. It was first isolated from lime in 1808 by British chemist Humphry Davy, as recorded in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of that year:

I shall venture to denominate the metals from the alkaline earths barium, strontium, calcium, and magnium.1

Calcium has the chemical symbol Ca, taken from the first two letters of its name.


1Oxford English Dictionary, calcium, 2nd Edition, 1989, Oxford University Press, accessed 4 September 2009, http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50031404.

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