lead

Lead, element 82, has been known since antiquity, and its name dates back to Old English. It is found in the Old English translation of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, written c.900 (Bede, an 8th century Northumbrian monk, wrote in Latin. The English translation is a bit later.):

Swylce hit [ref: þis land] is eac berende on wecga orum ares & isernes, leades & seolfres.
(So it [ref: this land] is also bearing within it metal ores of copper & iron, lead & silver.1

The chemical symbol for lead is Pb, from the Latin name for the metal, plumbum.


1Oxford English Dictionary, lead, n.1, 2nd Edition, 1989, Oxford University Press, accessed 8 November 2009, http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50130886.

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