3. Lithium - Elementymology & Elements Multidict

Elementymology & Elements Multidict

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Lithium – Lithium – Lithium – Lítio – リチウム – Литий – 鋰
Multilingual dictionary

Lithium Latin

— Germanic
Litium Afrikaans
Lithium Danish
Lithium German
Lithium English
Lithium Faroese
Lithium Frisian (West)
Litín, ²Liþín Icelandic
Lithium Luxembourgish
Lithium Dutch
Litium Norwegian
Litium Swedish

— Italic
Litio Aragonese
Litiumu Aromanian
Litiu Asturian
Liti Catalan
Lítio Spanish
Lithium French
Liti Friulian
Litio Galician
Litio Italian
Líti Lombard
Liti Occitan
Lítio Portuguese
Litiu Romanian - Moldovan

— Slavic
Литий [Litij] Bulgarian
Litij[um] Bosnian
Літый [lityj] Belarusian
Lithium Czech
Litij Croatian
Lët Kashubian
Литиум [Litium] Macedonian
Lit Polish
Литий [Litij] Russian
Litium Slovak
Litij Slovenian
Литијум [Litijum] Serbian
Літій [litij] Ukrainian

— Baltic
Litis Lithuanian
Litijs Latvian
Lėtis Samogitian

— Celtic
Litiom Breton
Lithiwm Welsh
Litiam Gaelic (Irish)
Litiam Gaelic (Scottish)
Litçhey Gaelic (Manx)
Lythyum Cornish

— Other Indo-European
Λιθιο [lithio] Greek
Լիթիում [lit'ium] Armenian
Litium[i] Albanian

— Indo-Iranian/Iranian
Lîtyûm Kurdish
Литий [litij] Ossetian
Литий [Liti'] Tajik

— Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryan
লিথিয়াম [lithiyāma] Bengali
لیتیم [lytym] Persian
લિથિયમનો [lithiyamano] Gujarati
लिथियम [lithiyama] Hindi

Liitium Estonian
Litium Finnish
Lítium Hungarian
Литий [Litij] Komi
Литий [Litij] Mari
Лити [liti] Moksha
Liitium Võro

Litium Azerbaijani
Лити [Liti] Chuvash
Литий [litij] Kazakh
Литий [Litij] Kyrgyz
Лити [liti] Mongolian
Lityum Turkish
لىتىي [litiy] Uyghur
Litiy Uzbek

Other (Europe)
Litioa Basque
ლიტიუმი [litiumi] Georgian

ليثيوم [līthiyūm] Arabic
ליתיום [lithium] Hebrew
Litju[m] Maltese

Lî (鋰) Hakka
リチウム [riteumu] Japanese
리튬 [lityum] Korean
ลิเทียม [lithiam] Thai
Lithi, Liti Vietnamese
[li3 / lei5] Chinese

Litio Cebuano
Litium Indonesian
Lithium Māori
Litium Malay

Other Asiatic
ലിഥിയം [lithiyam] Malayalam
லித்தியம் [littiyam] Tamil

Litu Lingala
Litiamo Sesotho
Lithi Swahili

Litio Nahuatl

Lityu Quechua

Litimi Sranan Tongo

Litio Esperanto

New names
Lition Atomic Elements
Happiness Dorseyville
memory peg

Shiny gray metal which quickly oxidizes on exposure to atmospheric gases
melting point 180.5 °C; 357 °F
boiling point 1347 °C; 2457 °F
density 0.53 g/cc; 33.34 pounds/cubic foot
1817 Johan August Arfwedson, Sweden
λιθος (lithos) = stone, rock (Greek)
Named by Jakob Berzelius

History & Etymology

Johan August Arfwedson (also Arfvedson, 1792-1841), a student of Jakob Berzelius, analyzed in 1817 the mineral petalite (LiAlSi4O10), discovered in a rock by the Brazilian José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva (1763-1838). This rock was found on the island of Utö, outside Stockholm in Sweden. In 1800 Andrada described the minerals petalite and spodumene in this rock.

Several chemists had previously failed to investigate the red color petalite imparted to flames, or the puzzling losses during its analysis. Arfwedson found the rock was roughly 80% silica, 17% alumina, and 3% alkali. He found the alkali did not precipitate in tartaric acid like Potassium and was not Magnesium. Calculating its composition by presuming it to be soda resulted in a 5% excess. Two careful repetitions convinced Arfwedson that it was a new element which has a greater capacity to react than the other alkalies. Berzelius wrote to the French chemist, Comte Claude Louis Berthollet (1749-1822) about this discovery and the naming, this letter was copied in Gilbert's Annalen of 1818:

"We named this alkali «Lithion», this name recalls that it was discovered in the mineral kingdom, whereas the two others have their origin in the vegetable kingdom. In the french nomenclature it will probably be named «Lithine», and in English «Lithina» in analogy with the names of the other alkalis in these languages."

Gilbert adds in a note almost a whole paper on the German name, the grammatical gender etc. In this note, he mentions also the name Lithium for the metal in the alkali Lithon.

The name is derived from the Greek λιθος [lithos] = stone, rock. This name was given because it was discovered from a mineral source whereas the other two common Group 1 elements, Sodium and Potassium, were discovered from plant sources.

Petalite. A rare large piece, 15 x 7 cms and 630 grams.
Courtesy of Arnaud Demerson, Minéraux et Fossiles, Carry le Rouet, France

Chemistianity 1873
LITHIUM, the lightest solid yet known,
Is a white colour'd metal that melts at low heat,
It soon oxides in Air, and, chemically,
Is closely allied both to Alkali
And Alkaline-earth Metals. Lithium
Occurs in minute proportions, chiefly
Combined as Chloride, in most Spring Waters,
In Milk, Tobacco, and also Human Blood;
In the Ashes of Plants, and Tryphylline.
J. Carrington Sellars, Chemistianity, 1873, p.109
Further reading
  • Mary Elvira Weeks, Discovery of the Elements, comp. rev. by Henry M. Leicester (Easton, Pa.: Journal of Chemical Education, 1968), pp. 457-471.

Sources Index of Persons Index of Alleged Elements