Tin, element 50, is one of the few elements whose name is traced back to Old English. Tin has cognates throughout the Germanic languages and is not found in other language families. (The Irish tinne is a borrowing from English.)

The word appears as early as c.897 in King Alfred’s translation of Gregory’s Pastoral Care:

Ðis Israhela folc is geworden nu me to sindrum & to are & to tine & to iserne & to leade inne on minum ofne.
(This, people of Israel, is turned now by me to cinders & to bronze & to tin & to iron & to lead in my oven.)1

Tin has the chemical symbol Sn, from the Latin stannum.

1Oxford English Dictionary, tin, 2nd Edition, 1989, Oxford University Press, accessed 6 October 2009, http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50252967.

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