tellurium

Tellurium, element 52, was named by German chemist Martin Klaproth in 1798. The name is from the Latin tellus, earth, presumably to contrast with uranium, which is ultimately from the Greek ούρανός, uranos, heaven, an element Klaproth had discovered several years earlier.

Klaproth writes in Crell’s Chemische Annalen in 1798:

[...] welchem ich hiermit den von der alten Muttererde entlehnten Namen Tellurium beylege.
([...] which I herewith confer on the name Tellurium, borrowed from the old mother earth.)1

The name appears in English scientific journals within a few years.

Tellurium has the chemical symbol Te.


1Oxford English Dictionary, tellurium, 2nd Edition, 1989, Oxford University Press, accessed 8 October 2009, http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50248588

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