79. Aurum (Gold) - Elementymology & Elements Multidict

Elementymology & Elements Multidict

This site comprises 120 pages of text and photos, one for each element, and several pages for access. – For captions or explanatory texts move your mouse over illustrations, links etc.

Aurum Gold
Goud – Gold – Or – Oro – 金 – Золото – 金
Multilingual dictionary

Aurum Latin

— Germanic
Goud Afrikaans
Guld Danish
Gold German
Gold English
Gull Faroese
Goud Frisian (West)
Gull Icelandic
Gold Luxembourgish
Goud Dutch
Gull Norwegian
Guld Swedish

— Italic
Oro Aragonese
Amalãmã Aromanian
Oru Asturian
Or Catalan
Oro Spanish
Or French
Aur Friulian
Ouro Galician
Oro Italian
Óor Lombard
Aur Occitan
Ouro Portuguese
Aur Romanian - Moldovan

— Slavic
Злато [Zlato] Bulgarian
Zlato Bosnian
Золата [zolata] Belarusian
Zlato Czech
Zlato Croatian
Złoto Kashubian
Злато [Zlato] Macedonian
Złoto Polish
Золото [Zoloto] Russian
Zlato Slovak
Zlato Slovenian
Злато [Zlato] Serbian
Золото [zoloto] Ukrainian

— Baltic
Auksas Lithuanian
Zelts Latvian
Auksos Samogitian

— Celtic
Aour Breton
Aur Welsh
Òr Gaelic (Irish)
Òr Gaelic (Scottish)
Airh Gaelic (Manx)
Owr Cornish

— Other Indo-European
Χρυσος [chrysos] Greek
Ոսկի [oski] Armenian
Ar[i] Albanian

— Indo-Iranian/Iranian
Zêr Kurdish
Сызгъæрин [syzg"ærin] Ossetian
Тилло [Tillo] Tajik

— Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryan
গোল্ড [golḍ] Bengali
طلا [tla] Persian
સોનું [sonu'] Gujarati
सोना [sonā] Hindi

Kuld Estonian
Kulta Finnish
Arany Hungarian
Зарни [Zarin] Komi
Шӧртньӧ [Šörtn'ö] Mari
Сирнае, Зрня [sirnae, zrnja] Moksha
Kuld Võro

Qızıl Azerbaijani
Ылтăн [Yltăn] Chuvash
Алтын [altyn] Kazakh
Алтын [Altyn] Kyrgyz
Алт [alt] Mongolian
Altın Turkish
ئالتۇن ['altun] Uyghur
Oltin Uzbek

Other (Europe)
Urrea Basque
ოქრო [ok'ro] Georgian

ذهب [dhahab] Arabic
זהב [zahav] Hebrew
Deheb Maltese

Kîm Hakka
[kin] Japanese
[geum] Korean
ทองคำ [thongkam] Thai
Vàng Vietnamese
[jin1 / gam1] Chinese

Bulawan Cebuano
Emas Indonesian
Koura Māori
Aurum, Emas Malay

Other Asiatic
സ്വര്‍ണം [svarṇam] Malayalam
பொன் [poṉ] Tamil

Wólo Lingala
Gauta Sesotho
Auri, Dhahabu Swahili

Cōztic teōcuitlatl Nahuatl

Quri Quechua

Gowtu Sranan Tongo

Oro Esperanto

New names
Goldore Atomic Elements
Elecronism Dorseyville
memory peg

Soft, yellow colored dense metal
melting point 1064 °C; 1948 °F
boiling point 2807 °C; 5085 °F
density 19.32 g/cc; 1206.11 pounds/cubic foot
Known to the ancients
Aurum, Latin word for this element

History & Etymology

The elements Copper, Silver, and Gold are collectively known as the "coinage metals" because of their former usage. These elements were almost certainly the first three metals known to man. All of them occur in the elemental, or "native", form and must have been used as primitive money long before the introduction of gold coins in Egypt around 3400 BC.

Cold-hammering was used in the late Stone Age to produce plates of gold for ornamental purposes, and this metal has always been synonymous with beauty, wealth and power. Gold ornaments of great variety and elaborate workmanship have been discovered on sites belonging to the earliest known civilizations; Minoan, Egyptian, Assyrian, Etruscan, and in ancient literature Gold is the universal symbol of the highest purity and value. Cf. passages in the Old Testament, e.g. Ps. xix, 10:

"More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold."
Some of the early rich finds of gold artifacts were from the cemeteries in Bulgaria in Europe (5th millennium BC) with accouterments of hammered and sheet gold. Some of the most elegant gold vessels made by the repousse technique come from the Mesopotamia (ca 2500 BC). The Babylonian name for gold - hurasu has a distant resemblance to the Ancient Greek word Χρυσος [chrysos], which is found in the earliest texts. Possibly, this word originates from the name of the place where Gold was found. Spectacular gold castings are known from ancient Egypt, such as the coffin of Tutankhamun (a minor Pharaoh who was only 18 when he died), which contained no less than 112 kg of gold. The Gold mines of Egypt were in Nubia. Hence the ancient Egyptian name for gold - nub. Early gold and silver ornaments from the Indian subcontinent are found from Indus Valley sites such as Mohenjodaro (ca 3000 BC). The ancient Indian word ayas for Gold was later used in other languages for the designation of copper, which, possibly, serves as indication of propagation in the antiquity of false gold.

The legendary Aztec and Inca hoards in Mexico and Peru were a major reason for the Spanish conquests of Central and South America in the early sixteenth century.

From the earliest times gold was compared with the sun, it was called the solar metal or simply by the sun (Sol). The alchemist symbol for gold - a circle with a dot in the center, is identical with the symbol for the sun. In the alchemic literature gold was indicated with many words, usually encoded, such as: zaras, trikor, sol, sonir, secur, senior, etc., and also several words with an Arab origin, for example al-bahag (gladness), hiti (cat dung), ras (head, principle), su'a (ray), diya (light), and alam (peace).

In astrology alchemy the seven heavenly bodies known to the ancients were associated with seven metals also known in antiquity:

Sun (Sol)Gold (Aurum)
Mercury (Mercurius)Mercury (Hydrargyrum)
VenusCopper (Cuprum)
Moon (Luna)Silver (Argentum)
MarsIron (Ferrum)
JupiterTin (Stannum)
SaturnLead (Plumbum)

The long history of Gold is reflected in the many different words for this metal, although many names seem to mean originally "yellow (metal)". See the list of names to the left and in the overview of Gold in over 100 languages (click here).
We can identify many different roots, even the three main European branches of the Indo-European language group have different roots for their name of this common metal: aurum, the Germanic gold and the Slavic золото (zoloto).

1. Aurum (Italic branch)
The Latin (Etruscan) name aurum (ancient ausom) means "yellow". This word is compared well with the the ancient-roman aurora or ausosa (the morning glow, the eastern country, the east). The word is also derived from a Sanskrit word "hari", meaning "yellow". Most of the Roman languages and the Celtic languages use derivations of aurum.

2. Gold (Germanic branch)
The Germanic word gold was already used in the old "Germanic" languages, some of the modern languages use a derivation of it (as goud in Dutch). The root of gold is *gelwa, yellow, which came from Sanskrit "jval", to shine. Literally gold means "the yellow, shining metal". Also the Finnish and Estonian words seems to be derivations of "gold". The Latvian words means yellow too.

3. Золото (zoloto) (Slavic branch)

The Slavic languages use different forms of золото, zlato. This word, used from the earliest times, is undoubtedly is connected with the earliest Indo-European Sol (sun).

4. Altın (Altaic languages)

5. Dhahab, zahav (Afro-Asiatic languages)

6. Amalãmã (Aromanian)
This word comes from Greek "malagma", (Medieval Latin amalgama), soft mass. (information by Prof. Emil Vrabie).

Chemistianity 1873
GOLD, the value-type metal through past time,
Irresistibly magnetic to all men,
Named Aurum, is a brilliant yellow metal;
In thin films by transmitted light 'tis green.
Gold is the most mall'able of all metals,
One grain can cover fifty square inches!
It is as soft nearly as Lead; does not tarnish
In pure Air or Water at any heat;
At high temp'rature it is somewhat volatile.
J. Carrington Sellars, Chemistianity, 1873, p. 178-179
Further reading
  • Mary Elvira Weeks, Discovery of the Elements, comp. rev. by Henry M. Leicester (Easton, Pa.: Journal of Chemical Education, 1968), pp. 6-13.
  • S. Srinivasan and S. Ranganathan, Metallurgical Heritage of India (on-line).
  • James B. Calvert, "Copper, Silver and Gold" 2002 (on-line).

Sources Index of Persons Index of Alleged Elements