15. Phosphorus - Elementymology & Elements Multidict

Elementymology & Elements Multidict

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Fosfor – Phosphor – Phosphore – Fósforo – リン – Фосфор – 磷
Multilingual dictionary

Phosphorus Latin

— Germanic
Fosfor Afrikaans
Phosphor, Fosfor Danish
Phosphor German
Phosphorus English
Fosfor Faroese
Fosfor Frisian (West)
Fosfór Icelandic
Phosphor Luxembourgish
Fosfor Dutch
Fosfor Norwegian
Fosfor Swedish

— Italic
Fosforo Aragonese
Fosforu Aromanian
Fósforu Asturian
Fòsfor Catalan
Fósforo Spanish
Phosphore French
Fosfar Friulian
Fósforo Galician
Fosforo Italian
Fòsfur Lombard
Fosfòr Occitan
Fósforo Portuguese
Fosfor Romanian - Moldovan

— Slavic
Фосфор [Fosfor] Bulgarian
Fosfor Bosnian
Фосфар [fosfar] Belarusian
Fosfor, Kostík† Czech
Fosfor Croatian
Fòsfòr Kashubian
Фосфор [Fosfor] Macedonian
Fosfor Polish
Фосфор [Fosfor] Russian
Fosfor Slovak
Fosfor Slovenian
Фосфор [Fosfor] Serbian
Фосфор [fosfor] Ukrainian

— Baltic
Fosforas Lithuanian
Fosfors Latvian
Fuosfuors Samogitian

— Celtic
Fosfor Breton
Ffósfforws Welsh
Fosfar Gaelic (Irish)
Fosfaras Gaelic (Scottish)
Fosfaar Gaelic (Manx)
Fosforus Cornish

— Other Indo-European
Φωσφορος [fōsforos] Greek
Ֆոսֆոր [fosfor] Armenian
Fosfor[i] Albanian

— Indo-Iranian/Iranian
Fosfor Kurdish
Фосфор [fosfor] Ossetian
Фосфор [Fosfor] Tajik

— Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryan
ফসফরাস [phasapharāsa] Bengali
فسفر [fsfr] Persian
ફૉસ્ફરસનો [phospharasano] Gujarati
फास्फोरस [phāsphorasa] Hindi

Fosfor Estonian
Fosfori Finnish
Foszfor Hungarian
Фосфор [Fosfor] Komi
Фосфор [Fosfor] Mari
Паликандур [palikandur] Moksha
Fosfor Võro

Fosfor Azerbaijani
Фосфор [Fosfor] Chuvash
Фосфор [fosfor] Kazakh
Фосфор [Fosfor] Kyrgyz
Фосфор [fosfor] Mongolian
Fosfor Turkish
فوسفور [fosfor] Uyghur
Fosfor Uzbek

Other (Europe)
Fosforoa Basque
ფოსფორი [p'osp'ori] Georgian

فوسفور [fūsfūr] Arabic
זרחן [zarhan] Hebrew
Fosfru Maltese

Lìn (磷) Hakka
リン [rin] Japanese
[in] Korean
ฟอสฟอรัส [fosforas] Thai
Photpho Vietnamese
[lin2 / lun4] Chinese

Posporo Cebuano
Fosfor Indonesian
Pūtūtae-whetū Māori
Fosforus Malay

Other Asiatic
ഫോസ്ഫറസ് [phōsphaṟas] Malayalam
பொஸ்பரசு [posparacu] Tamil

Fosofo Lingala
Fosforase Sesotho
Posfori Swahili

Fósforo Nahuatl

Phusphuru Quechua

Fosforimi Sranan Tongo

Fosforo Esperanto

New names
Fosforon Atomic Elements
Pesticium Dorseyville
memory peg

White P: a translucent, waxy white solid.
Red P: a bright red powder.
Black P: a very dark red/black crystalline mass<
melting point 44 °C; 111 °F
boiling point 280 °C; 536 °F
density 1.82-2.69 g/cc; 113.62-167.93 pounds/cubic foot
1669 Henning Brand, Germany
φωσφορος (fōsforos) = light carrying, luminous (Greek)
known as Phosphorus mirabilis from antiquity

History & Etymology

Discovery of the element Phosphorus is the earliest for which its discoverer is known, although details of earlier discoveries of elements may have been lost. Alchemists often heated vinegar (an acid) or urine (sometimes a base) as ingredients with earths and metals to cause chemical transmutations. In 1669, the German merchant ant amateur-alchemist Henning Brand (ca. 1630-1710) in Hamburg was the first to obtain elementary Phosphorus. He was heating concentrated urine and preventing the admittance of air. There was a snow-white substance at the bottom of a retort. It burned out immediately with a dark and choking smoke. The most interesting thing about that substance was that it was illuminating in the dark and Brand was able to read old alchemy works under its light. So, in 1669 a chemical element was discovered while trying to manufacture gold. His discovery was immortalised in the painting by Joseph Wright of Derby (see illustration).

He wrote about his discovery to the mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz (1646-1716), who later in his Historia inventionis phosphori (Berlin, 1710), wrote that Brand was an impoverished merchant who sought to restore his wealth by converting base metals into gold; and during his alchemical experiments with urine discovered Phosphorus.
As was typical in alchemy at the time, the details of the method were kept secret. Brand sold his secret to the German physician Johannes Daniel Krafft, who showed off the new wonder substance around the courts of Europe. The secret that it was made from urine leaked out and first Johann Kunckel von Löwenstern (1630 or '38-1703) in Sweden (1678) and later Robert Boyle (1627-1691) in London (1680) also managed to make Phosphorus. Boyle's assistant, Ambrose Godfrey Hanckwitz, developed the process on a commercial scale, improved it, and exported Phosphorus to the continent. He founded a famous pharmaceutical firm in London know simply as Ambrose Godfrey.

The method of producing Phosphorus by evaporating urine was generally adopted until 1775, when C.W. Scheele prepared it from bones, which had been shown by J.G. Gahn in 1769 to contain calcium phosphate (Ca3(PO4)2).

The name Phosphorus was originally given to any substance which possessed the property of phosphorescence, a name given to a variety of physical phenomena due to different causes, but all consisting in the emission of a pale, more or less ill-defined light, not obviously due to combustion. The word was first used by physicists to describe the property possessed by many substances of themselves becoming luminous after exposure to light. This property has been noticed from early times. But the first discovery of this property which apparently attracted scientific attention seems to have been that of the Bologna stone (Barium sulphide, cf. Barium), which was discovered by Vincenzo Cascariolo, a cobbler of Bologna, in about 1602. This was followed by the discovery of a number of other substances which become luminous either after exposure to light or on heating, or by attrition, and to which the general name of "phosphori" was given. Among these may be mentioned Homberg's phosphorus (calcium chloride), John Canton's phosphorus (calcium sulphide) and Balduin's phosphorus (calcium nitrate). Now the name is restricted to a non-metallic element, which was first known as Phosphorus mirabilis or igneus.
The word is Greek, φωσφορος [fōsforos] = light carrying, luminous (φωσ [fōs] = light, φερω [ferō] = to carry).

Alternative names
  • In the 19th century a native Czech name was proposed: kostík, from "kost" = bone (since calcium phosphate forming about 58% of bones).
  • The Hebrew zarhan derives from "zarah" = bright light or illumination.
Chemistianity 1873
PHOSPHORUS, tonic element in Brains,
Is a yellow hued wax-like Metalloid,
Soft and flexible at common temp'rature,
Semi-transparent, and exceedingly
Inflammable. It is insoluble
In, and should be preserved under, Water;
J. Carrington Sellars, Chemistianity, 1873, p. 73
Further reading
  • Mary Elvira Weeks, Discovery of the Elements, comp. rev. by Henry M. Leicester (Easton, Pa.: Journal of Chemical Education, 1968), pp. 110-130.
  • Peter E. Childs, Phosphorus: fire from urine. 1. The discovery and production of phosphorus. Chemistry in Action! 60 (Spring 2000) (on-line).
  • James B. Calvert, "Phosphorus" 2002 (on-line).

Sources Index of Persons Index of Alleged Elements