16. Sulphurium (Sulphur) - Elementymology & Elements Multidict

Elementymology & Elements Multidict

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Sulphurium Sulphur
Zwavel – Schwefel – Soufre – Azufre – 硫黄 – Сера – 硫
Multilingual dictionary

Sulphurium Latin

— Germanic
Swael Afrikaans
Svovl Danish
Schwefel German
Sulphur/Sulfur English
Svávul, Brennisteinur Faroese
Swevel Frisian (West)
Brennisteinn Icelandic
Schwiewel Luxembourgish
Zwavel Dutch
Svovel Norwegian
Svavel Swedish

— Italic
Ixufre Aragonese
Sulfure Aromanian
Azufre Asturian
Sofre Catalan
Azufre Spanish
Soufre French
Solfar Friulian
Xofre Galician
Zolfo Italian
Zuulf Lombard
Sofre Occitan
Enxofre Portuguese
Sulf Romanian - Moldovan

— Slavic
Сяра [Sjara] Bulgarian
Sumpor Bosnian
Сера [sera] Belarusian
Síra Czech
Sumpor Croatian
Sarka Kashubian
Сулфур [Sulfur] Macedonian
Siarka Polish
Сера [Sera] Russian
Síra Slovak
Žveplo Slovenian
Сумпор [Sumpor] Serbian
Сірка [sirka] Ukrainian

— Baltic
Siera Lithuanian
Sērs Latvian
Siera Samogitian

— Celtic
Sulfur, Soufr Breton
Sylffwr Welsh
Sulfar, ²Grumastal (Grunnastal, Ruibh) Gaelic (Irish)
Sulfar Gaelic (Scottish)
Sulfur Gaelic (Manx)
Sulfor Cornish

— Other Indo-European
Θειο [theio] Greek
Ծծումբ [tstsumb] Armenian
Sulfur, ²Squfuri Albanian

— Indo-Iranian/Iranian
Kukurd Kurdish
Сондон [sondon] Ossetian
Сулфур [Sulfur] Tajik

— Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryan
সালফার [sālaphāra] Bengali
گوگرد [gwgrd] Persian
સલ્ફરનો [salpharano] Gujarati
गन्धक [gandhaka] Hindi

Väävel Estonian
Rikki Finnish
Kén Hungarian
Тэг [Tèg] Komi
Киш [Kiš] Mari
Кандур [kandur] Moksha
Väävli Võro

Kükürd Azerbaijani
Кӳкĕрт [Kükĕrt] Chuvash
Күкірт [kükirt] Kazakh
-- [--] Kyrgyz
Хүхэр [hühèr] Mongolian
Kükürt Turkish
گۈڭگۈرت [günggürt] Uyghur
Oltingugurt Uzbek

Other (Europe)
Sufrea Basque
გოგირდი [gogirdi] Georgian

كبريت [kibrīt] Arabic
גופרית [gofrit] Hebrew
Kubrit, ²Żolfu Maltese

Liù-vòng Hakka
硫黄 [iou] Japanese
[hwang] Korean
กำมะถัน [kammathan] Thai
Lưu huỳnh Vietnamese
[liu2 / lau4] Chinese

Asufre Cebuano
Belerang Indonesian
Pungatara Māori
Sulfur, ²Belerang Malay

Other Asiatic
ഗന്ധകം [gandhakam] Malayalam
கந்தகம் [kantakam] Tamil

Sufa Lingala
Sebabole Sesotho
Sulfuri, ²Kibiriti Swahili

Tlequiquiztlālli Nahuatl

Salina, ²Salliy Quechua

Sulfimi Sranan Tongo

Sulfuro Esperanto

New names
Sulfuron Atomic Elements
Rottenegg Dorseyville
memory peg

Yellow powder/crystals which have an acrid, rotten-egg like odor upon strong heating
melting point 113-119 °C; 235-246 °F
boiling point 445 °C; 832 °F
density 1.96-2.07 g/cc; 122.17-129.23 pounds/cubic foot
Known to the ancients
Sulphur, Latin word for this element

History & Etymology

Sulphur occurs naturally in large quantities, either combined as in the sulphides (as pyrites) and sulphates (as gypsum), or native in volcanic regions, in vast beds mixed with gypsum and various earthy materials. It was already known in Antiquity. The popular names was brimstone, meaning literally "burning stone"; (cf. the Icelandic name).
In Genesis it is referred to: "Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven." (Gen. 19:24). Homer mentions the use of its combustion products as disinfectant sever times. In Book 22 (vs. 480-483) is said:

    αυταρ ό γε προσέειπε φίλην τροφον Εύρυκλειαν:
    "οισε θέειον, γρηϋ, κακων ακος, οισε δε μοι πυρ,
    οφρα θεεωσω μεγαρον!..."

    "and Ulysses said to the dear old nurse Euryclea,
    «Bring me Sulphur, which cleanses all pollution, and fetch fire also that I may burn it, and purify the cloisters»."

The Greek physician and pharmacologist Pedanius Dioscorides (c. 40-90 AD) describes its application in medicine. Pliny the Elder (Roman) described Italian and Sicilian deposits and medicinal uses, bleaching cloth with Sulphur vapors, and manufacture of Sulphur matches and lamp-wicks.
Sulphur was well known to the alchemists, free and as sulphuric acid (Oil of Vitriol, H2SO4). Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan ("Geber", c. 721-c. 815), known as the "father of Arab chemistry", suggested that metals were compounds of Sulphur and Mercury. This made Mercury and Sulphur more important substances to alchemists than other materials. Translations of his work were very popular in medieval Europe. Georgius Agricola (Georg Bauer, of Chemnitz, 1494-1555), in his De re metallica (1556), described matches ignited by friction on stone and the use of Sulphur in the manufacture of gunpowder.
In 1772 Antoine Lavoisier proved that Sulphur is an elementary substance.

Sulphur was known in antiquity. In Latin, it was called sulpur, and in Greek, Θειο. It was considered the embodiment of fire, and related to lightning. The Greek name, indeed, also means "divinity" and was derived from Θεος, which referred to Zeus, who is often shown with a handful of lightning bolts. In Christian mythology, it is the fuel of Hell. A "p" in Latin was used to represent φ in words borrowed from Greek in the times when it was pronounced with a puff of air, but was not yet the "f" sound. Later, when the "f" sound was used, the "p" often changed to "ph" in Latin words of Greek origin. Although "sulpur" had no Greek roots (it is derived from the Sanscrite sulvere), it was attracted into the form "sulphur" in late classical Latin. The spelling was altered in medieval times to "sulfur," which is the spelling that usually appears in Latin dictionaries. The English word is taken directly from Latin, traditionally in the form "sulphur." The American Chemical Society, at a time when spelling simplification was in vogue, decreed that "sulfur" was to be the accepted form in the United States. Although resisted by technical users, this form is now general in the United States, though sulphur is still occasionally seen. In the rest of the world, it is still sulphur (Calvert 2002).

The Old Saxon sweval, Old English swefel, Old High German swebal, Gothic swibls are difficult to separate from the Latin sulphur. Maybe there was a Germanic basic from *swelhla which was combined with the Indo-Germanic root *swel (which has to do with smoke, burn slowly).

Other names
  • Japanese: The two Chinese characters are 硫 ryuu = Sulphur 黄 and kou ou = yellow.

Chemistianity 1873
SULPHUR, in fumes,the typical Air of Hell,
Call'd Brimstone, a yellow solid Metalloid,
Is very brittle. If heated in Glass retort
Out of contact with Air, it distils unaltered.
J. Carrington Sellars, Chemistianity, 1873, p. 78
Further reading
  • Mary Elvira Weeks, Discovery of the Elements, comp. rev. by Henry M. Leicester (Easton, Pa.: Journal of Chemical Education, 1968), pp. 51-57.
  • James B. Calvert, "Sulphur" 2002 (on-line).

Sources Index of Persons Index of Alleged Elements