carbon / diamond / graphite

Carbon, the element with atomic number 6, takes its name from the French carbone, which in turn is from the Latin carbo, meaning charcoal.

While humans have been aware of the existence of carbon since prehistory, it wasn’t until the advent of modern chemistry in the 18th century that we began to understand its forms and properties and gave it its name. The French word carbone was coined in 1787 by French chemists Antoine Lavoisier, Claude-Louis Berthollet, L. B. Guyton de Morveau and A. F. Fourcroy in their M├ęthode de Nomenclature Chimique. That work was translated into English the following year, and this translation is the first known English use of carbon:

We adopt to it the modified name of carbon, which indicates the pure and essential principle of charcoal.1

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