13. Aluminium - Elementymology & Elements Multidict

Elementymology & Elements Multidict

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Aluminium – Aluminium – Aluminium – Alumínio – アルミカウム – Алюминий – 鋁
Multilingual dictionary

Aluminium Latin

— Germanic
Aluminium Afrikaans
Aluminium Danish
Aluminium German
Aluminium/Aluminum English
Aluminium Faroese
Aluminium Frisian (West)
Ál Icelandic
Aluminium Luxembourgish
Aluminium Dutch
Aluminium Norwegian
Aluminium Swedish

— Italic
Aluminio Aragonese
Aluminiumu Aromanian
Aluminiu Asturian
Alumini Catalan
Alumínio Spanish
Aluminium French
Alumini Friulian
Aluminio Galician
Alluminio Italian
Alümíni Lombard
Alumini Occitan
Alumínio Portuguese
Aluminiu Romanian - Moldovan

— Slavic
Алуминий [Aluminij] Bulgarian
Aluminij[um] Bosnian
Алюміній [aljuminij] Belarusian
Hliník Czech
Aluminij Croatian
Aluminijô Kashubian
Алуминиум [Aluminium] Macedonian
Glin Polish
Алюминий [Aljuminij] Russian
Hlinník Slovak
Aluminij Slovenian
Алуминијум [Aluminijum] Serbian
Алюміній [aljuminij] Ukrainian

— Baltic
Aliuminis Lithuanian
Alumīnijs Latvian
Aliomėnis Samogitian

— Celtic
Aluminiom Breton
Alwminiwm Welsh
Alúmanam Gaelic (Irish)
Alùmanam Gaelic (Scottish)
Ollymin Gaelic (Manx)
Alumynyum Cornish

— Other Indo-European
Αργιλιο [argilio] Greek
Ալյումինում [alyuminum] Armenian
Alumin[i] Albanian

— Indo-Iranian/Iranian
Bafûn Kurdish
Алюминий [aljuminij] Ossetian
Алюминий [Alyumini'] Tajik

— Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryan
অ্যালুমিনিয়াম [ayāluminiẏāma] Bengali
آلومینیم [âlwmynym] Persian
એલ્યુમિનિયમનો [elyuminiyamano] Gujarati
एल्युमिनियम [elyuminiyama] Hindi

Alumiinium Estonian
Alumiini Finnish
Alumínium Hungarian
Алюминий [Aljuminij] Komi
Алюминий [Aljuminij] Mari
Алюмини [aljumini] Moksha
Alumiinium Võro

Alüminium Azerbaijani
Алюмини [Aljumini] Chuvash
Алюминий [aljûminij] Kazakh
Алюминий [Aljuminij] Kyrgyz
Хөнгөн цагаан [höngön cagaan] Mongolian
Alüminyum Turkish
ئاليۇمىن ['alyumin] Uyghur
Alyuminiy Uzbek

Other (Europe)
Aluminioa Basque
ალუმინი [alumini] Georgian

الومينيوم [alūminyūm] Arabic
אלומיניום [aluminium] Hebrew
Aluminju[m] Maltese

Lî (鋁) Hakka
アルミカウム [aruminiumu] Japanese
알루미늄 [alluminyum] Korean
อะลูมิเนียม [alūminiam] Thai
Nhốm Vietnamese
[lu3 / lui5] Chinese

Aluminio Cebuano
Aluminium Indonesian
Konumohe Māori
Aluminium Malay

Other Asiatic
അലൂമിനിയം [alūminiyam] Malayalam
அலூமீனியம் [alūmīniyam] Tamil

Aluminyu Lingala
Aluminiamo Sesotho
Alumini Swahili

Aluminio Nahuatl

Ch'aqu q'illay, ²Sañumi, ³Aluminyu Quechua

Aluminimi Sranan Tongo

Aluminio Esperanto

New names
Alumon Atomic Elements
Airplaneium Dorseyville
memory peg

A light, gray metal
melting point 660 °C; 1221 °F
boiling point 2467 °C; 4473 °F
density 2.7 g/cc; 168.49 pounds/cubic foot
1825 Hans Christian Ørsted
alumen = alum (Latin)
named alumi(n)um by Sir Humpry Davy in 1807

History & Etymology

The ancient Greeks and Romans used alumen (alum, potassium aluminium sulfate, K2Al6(OH)12(SO4)4) in medicine as an astringent, and as a mordant in dyeing. Alum was exported from ancient Greece and Italy.
In 1761 the French chemist Louis-Bernard Guyton de Morveau (1737-1816) proposed the name alumine for the base in alum. Guyton de Morveau was instrumental in setting up a standardised system for chemical nomenclature and often collaborated with Antoine Lavoisier, who in 1787, suggested that alumine was the oxide of a previously undiscovered metal.

In 1808, Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) did experiments for the decomposition of alumine, silex, zircone, and glucine. He failed to isolate the metals in these, as he reported in his paper for the Royal Society of London on 30 June 1808, but he suggested names for the metals (note):

Cf. Silicium, Zirconium, and Beryllium ("Glucium")

Thus he proposed the name alumium for this still undiscovered metal and later agreed to change it to aluminum. Shortly thereafter the name aluminium was adopted to conform with the -ium ending of most elements. By the mid-1800s both spellings were in use, indeed Charles Dickens commented at the time that he felt both names were too difficult for the masses to pronounce! But he was very happy with the new metal, and in 1857 he wrote: "Within the course of the last two years ... a treasure has been divined, unearthed and brought to light ... what do you think of a metal as white as silver, as unalterable as gold, as easily melted as copper, as tough as iron, which is malleable, ductile, and with the singular quality of being lighter that glass? Such a metal does exist and that in considerable quantities on the surface of the globe.

Louis-Bernard Guyton de Morveau The advantages to be derived from a metal endowed with such qualities are easy to be understood. Its future place as a raw material in all sorts of industrial applications is undoubted, and we may expect soon to see it, in some shape or other, in the hands of the civilised world at large."
In 1925 the American Chemical Society decided to revert back to aluminum. James B. Calvert, an American chemist who uses the word Aluminum writes:

"You probably noted that the title uses "aluminium" instead of the American "aluminum," which I did purely in futile protest. Until 1925, the word was "aluminium" even in the U.S., but in that year the American Chemical Society decided to change it. We also got "sulfur" in that same year, which still looks silly, and was not universally adopted by the engineering world. It's the Latin spelling, as is "sulpur." Fortunately, the urge for simplified spelling did not result in Fosforus or Thorum, or even Jermanum, combining both types of change. The -ia ending of a refractory oxide, such as alumina or thoria, usually named the metal with an -ium ending. Why aluminum had to be different, I do not know. A divergence in pronunciation also results, "alyouminium" versus "aloominum." The latter may have been a vulgar pronunciation. It is usually the English who have trouble pronouncing more than three syllables in a word, not the colonials."

Hans Christian Ørsted (1777-1851) is now generally credited with having been the first to prepare metallic Aluminium. In 1825 he isolated a small sample of impure Aluminium for the first time. His claim was nearly lost by publication in an obscure Danish journal and was not very interested in pursuing it any further. He told it to Friedrich Wöhler (1800-1882), who developed the method isolated the metal in 1827 and became known as the discoverer of Aluminium.

Alternative names
  • A few Slavic languages (pl, cs and sk) have a name derived from glina respectively hlína = clay.


In 1892, Henry D. Richmond (1867-1931) and Hussein Off, of the Khedivial Laboratory in Cairo (Egypt) announced the discovery of a new element, to which they have given the name Masrium (Ms), after Masr or Misr, the Arabic name for Egypt. It was found in the mineral Johnsonite, supposed to be a manganese alum, but they found 0.2 % of an unknown substance in it. They did not succeed to isolate the metal, but calculated an atomic weight which agrees with that of Radium. The mineral was named Masrite. In this mineral no radiactive elements are present, thus it is believed that the substance Richmond and Off have prepared was Aluminium with traces of Manganese (note), (note2).

Chemistianity 1873
ALUMINIUM, the Bright Star of Metals,
The principal metal in common clay,
Is extremely light, bright, and silver-like;
It does not oxide pn exposure to Air
Nor does its compact mass though ignited in Air;
Exhaled effluvia from towns do not affect it;
It may be cast or filed and is grandly mall'able;
Conducts Heat and 'lectric force like Silver.

He who propounds the plan of reducing
Aluminium from our Rocks or Clays,
In the brief time and cost of Iron Smelting,
Will lime-light Earth with yet grander Art days,
By urging new trades with electric force plied,
Giving wealth and work, to full height of Man's pride.

Then try good Youth, if but a brief essay,
The ores you own in profound abundance,
The skill exist within the brain-mine? yea,
So go band them with all Art complaisance;
In thy life we'll award thee, tribute, and fete,
And own-metal scroll thee for Time beyond date.

J. Carrington Sellars, Chemistianity, 1873, p. 124-125 & 130
Further reading
  • Mary Elvira Weeks, Discovery of the Elements, comp. rev. by Heny M. Leicester (Easton, Pa.: Journal of Chemical Education, 1968), pp. 557-579.
  • James B. Calvert, "Aluminium" 2002 (on-line).
  • International Aluminium Institute, History of Aluminium.

Sources Index of Persons Index of Alleged Elements