30. Zincum (Zinc) - Elementymology & Elements Multidict

Elementymology & Elements Multidict

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Zincum Zinc
Zink – Zink – Zinc – Zinc – 亜鉛 – Цинк – 鋅
Multilingual dictionary

Zincum Latin

— Germanic
Sink Afrikaans
Zink Danish
Zink German
Zinc English
Sink Faroese
Sink Frisian (West)
Sink Icelandic
Zénk Luxembourgish
Zink Dutch
Sink Norwegian
Zink Swedish

— Italic
Zinc Aragonese
Tsincu Aromanian
Cinc Asturian
Zinc Catalan
Zinc Spanish
Zinc French
Zinc Friulian
Cinc Galician
Zinco Italian
Zinch Lombard
Zinc Occitan
Zinco Portuguese
Zinc Romanian - Moldovan

— Slavic
Цинк [Cink] Bulgarian
Cink Bosnian
Цынк [cynk] Belarusian
Zinek Czech
Cink Croatian
Cynk Kashubian
Цинк [Cink] Macedonian
Cynk Polish
Цинк [Cink] Russian
Zinok Slovak
Cink Slovenian
Цинк [Cink] Serbian
Цинк [cynk] Ukrainian

— Baltic
Cinkas Lithuanian
Cinks Latvian
Cinks Samogitian

— Celtic
Zink Breton
Zinc Welsh
Sinc Gaelic (Irish)
Sinc Gaelic (Scottish)
Shinc Gaelic (Manx)
Synk Cornish

— Other Indo-European
Ψευdαργυρος [pseudargyros] Greek
Ցինկ [ts'ink] Armenian
Zink[u] Albanian

— Indo-Iranian/Iranian
Çînko Kurdish
Цинк [cink] Ossetian
Руҳ [Ruh] Tajik

— Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryan
জিঙ্ক [jiṅka] Bengali
روی [rwy] Persian
જસતનો [jasatano] Gujarati
जस्ता [jastā] Hindi

Tsink Estonian
Sinkki Finnish
Cink Hungarian
Цинк [Cink] Komi
Цинк [Cink] Mari
Цинка [cinka] Moksha
Tsink Võro

Sink Azerbaijani
Цинк [Cink] Chuvash
Мырыш [myryš] Kazakh
-- [--] Kyrgyz
Цайр [cajr] Mongolian
Çinko Turkish
سىنك [sink] Uyghur
Rux Uzbek

Other (Europe)
Zinka Basque
თუთია [t'ut'ia] Georgian

خارصين [zink] Arabic
אבץ [avats] Hebrew
Żingu Maltese

Sîn (鋅) Hakka
亜鉛 [aen] Japanese
아연 [a'yeon] Korean
สังกะสี [sangkasī] Thai
Kẽm Vietnamese
[xin1 / san1] Chinese

Zinc Cebuano
Seng Indonesian
Konutea Māori
Zink, ²Seng Malay

Other Asiatic
നാകം [nākam] Malayalam
நாகம் [nākam] Tamil

Zɛ́nki Lingala
Senke Sesotho
Zinki, ²Bati Swahili

Zinc Nahuatl

Tsinku, ²Tsink Quechua

Sungu Sranan Tongo

Zinko Esperanto

New names
Zincon Atomic Elements
Earthia Dorseyville
memory peg

Bluish-white, brittle metal
melting point 420 °C; 787 °F
boiling point 907 °C; 1665 °F
density 7.13 g/cc; 445.23 pounds/cubic foot
Known to the ancients
Zink(e) = sharp point (German)
Named in 1546 by Georgius Agricola, again in 1746 Andreas Marggraf

History & Etymology

Centuries before zinc was recognized as a distinct element, zinc ores were used for making brass. Tubal-Cain, seven generations from Adam, is mentioned as being an "instructor in every artificer in brass and iron."

Zinc ornaments with more than 2500 years have been discovered, but should now be considered as alloys since they have composition of only 80 to 90% zinc, with the remainder Lead including Aron and Antimony as impurities.

The reduction of ZnO by charcoal requires a temperature of 1000 °C or more and, because the metal is a vapour at that temperature and is liable to reoxidation, its collection requires some form of condenser and the exclusion of air. This was apparently first achieved in India in the thirteenth century. The art then passed to China where zinc coins were used in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Marco Polo described the manufacture of zinc oxide in Persia and how the Persians prepared tutia (a solution of zinc vitriol) for healing sore eyes (cf. the Georgian name for the metal).
References to Zinc and brass are found in the lost text Philippica or Theopompus (4th century BC), quoted in Strabo's Geography (XIII, 56):

"There is a stone near Andreida (north west Anatolia) which yields Iron when burnt. After being treated in a furnace with a certain earth it yields droplets of false silver. This added to copper, forms the so-called mixture, which some call oreichalkos."
This pertains probably to the process of downward distillation of zinc ("droplets of false silver") and its subsequent mixing with Copper to make brass oreichalkos (arakuta in Kautilya’s Arthasastra) described in detail in the post-Christian era Sanskrit texts.

The first slab zinc or spelter was imported from the East by the East-India companies around 1600, late when compared with Iron, Copper or Lead. In 1597, the German Andreas Libavius (1545-1616) received from a friend a "peculiar kind of tin" which was prepared in India. He called it Indian or Malabar lead. He was uncertain what it was, but from his account it is quite clear that that metal was Zinc.

Early symbol for Zinc Zinc compounds were know in Europe. Georgius Agricola in 1546 reported that a white metal was condensed and scraped off the walls of the furnace when Rammelsberg ore was smelted in the Harz Mountains to obtain Lead and Silver to which he gave the name contrefey because it was used to imitate Gold. This often consisted to metallic zinc, although he did not recognize it as such. He observed, furthermore, that a similar metal which he called zincum (from antecedents that are not clear) was being produced under similar circumstances in Silesia by the local people. Paracelsus (1493-1541) was the first European to state clearly that zincum was a new metal and that it had properties distinct from other known metals. He regarded it as a bastard or semi-metal. The identification of Zinc as the metal from blende or calamine (Lapis Calaminarus, mineral form of ZnCO3) was accomplished by Wilhelm Homberg (1652-1715) in 1695.
João Cardoso writes that the term was first used by a certain Löhneyes in 1697. I have not found any information on this person (the correct orthography is probably (von) Löneysen).

Finally, Andreas Marggraf (1709-1782) isolated Zinc from its minerals. He published his findings in "On the method of extracting zinc from its true mineral, calamine" (1746). The metal was viewed as a complex blende of metals nearly until the time of Antoine Lavoisier's revolutionary listing of Zinc as an element.

The metal did not even have a universally accepted name before the eighteenth century.

  • tutenag or tutanego, derived from the Persian tutiya, calamine [ZnCO3], which became the English tutty, zinc oxide. The Person word tutiya is derived from a word that means smoke. It refers to the fact that zinc oxide is evolved as white smoke when zinc ores are roasted with charcoal.
  • spelter (referring indiscriminately to Zinc and Bismuth), likely from the similar coloured lead-tin alloy, pewter, or the Dutch equivalent, spiauter or Indian tin. The British chemist Robert Boyle latinised this in 1690 to speltrum from which originates spelter, the commercial term for zinc.
  • The term zink was first used by by Paracelsus (c. 1526) in analogy of the form of its crystals after smelting. The word was subsequently used for both the metal and its ores.
The word zink is derived from the High German zink of zinke = sharp point (from Old High German zint "a point, jag," from Proto-Germanic *tindja "tine"), the shape in which the metal deposits in the melting furnace. Some suppose a relation with Zinn, the German word for Tin.
Habashi writes that it may also be derived from Persion sing for stone. In Mineral Commodity Report 6-Lead and Zinc (PDF-file) is said that it is derived from the Greek zink.

Variant names
  • Greek Ψευδαργυρος [pseudargyros]: literaly "pseudo-silver".
  • Georgian თუთია [t'ut'ia]: After the Persian tutia, a solution of zinc vitriol.
  • Japanese, the two characters are 亜 = second, and 鉛 = lead.
  • In Arabic, خارصين [kharsīn]: > Al-Ghar = mine, + Al-Sīn = China, thus: the metal from Chinese mines.

In 1881 the London scientist Thomas Lamb Phipson (1833-1908) thought that commercial Zinc contained an other metal, to which he gave the name Actinium, because certain of its compounds are darkened by exposure to light.
Chemistianity 1873
ZINC, our valued galvanizing metal,
Has a lamellar crystalline structure,
Bluish-white hue, and slowly oxides in air,
It seems chemically a kin to Magnesium.
Zinc is brittle at common temp'ratured
And at 200 degrees less heat it is mall'able.
J. Carrington Sellars, Chemistianity, 1873, p. 136
Further reading
  • Mary Elvira Weeks, Discovery of the Elements, comp. rev. by Henry M. Leicester (Easton, Pa.: Journal of Chemical Education, 1968), pp. 137-147.
  • Arun Kumar Biswas, Zinc and related alloys: The pioneering traditions in the ancient ad medieval India (on-line).
  • Fathi Habashi, Discovering the 8th metal, A history of Zinc (on-line).
  • James B. Calvert, "Zinc and Cadmium" 2002 (on-line).
  • T.L. Phipson, "Sur l'existence d'un nouvel élément métallique, l'actinium, dans le zinc du commerce". La Nature: Revue des sciences et de leurs applications aux arts et à l'industrie 9 (1881): 243 (on-line)

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