65. Terbium - 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.

Terbium – Terbium – Terbium – Térbio – テルビウム – Тербий – 鋱
Multilingual dictionary

Terbium Latin

— Germanic
Terbium Afrikaans
Terbium Danish
Terbium German
Terbium English
Terbium Faroese
Terbium Frisian (West)
Terbín Icelandic
Terbium Luxembourgish
Terbium Dutch
Terbium Norwegian
Terbium Swedish

— Italic
Terbio Aragonese
Terbiumu Aromanian
Terbiu Asturian
Terbi Catalan
Térbio Spanish
Terbium French
Terbi Friulian
Terbio Galician
Terbio Italian
Tèrbi Lombard
Terbi Occitan
Térbio Portuguese
Terbiu Romanian - Moldovan

— Slavic
Тербий [Terbij] Bulgarian
Terbij[um] Bosnian
Тэрбій [tèrbij] Belarusian
Terbium Czech
Terbij Croatian
Terb Kashubian
Тербиум [Terbium] Macedonian
Terb Polish
Тербий [Terbij] Russian
Terbium Slovak
Terbij Slovenian
Тербијум [Terbijum] Serbian
Тербій [terbij] Ukrainian

— Baltic
Terbis Lithuanian
Terbijs Latvian
Terbis Samogitian

— Celtic
Terbiom Breton
Terbiwm Welsh
Teirbiam Gaelic (Irish)
Teirbiam Gaelic (Scottish)
Çherbium Gaelic (Manx)
Terbyum Cornish

— Other Indo-European
Τερβιο [tervio] Greek
Կերբիում [terbium] Armenian
Terbium[i] Albanian

— Indo-Iranian/Iranian
Terbiyûm Kurdish
Тербий [terbij] Ossetian
Тербий [Terbi'] Tajik

— Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryan
টার্বিয়াম [ṭārbiẏāma] Bengali
تربیم [trbym] Persian
ટર્બિયમનો [ṭarbiyamano] Gujarati
टर्बियम [ṭarbiyama] Hindi

Terbium Estonian
Terbium Finnish
Terbium Hungarian
Тербий [Terbij] Komi
Тербий [Terbij] Mari
Терби [terbi] Moksha
Terbium Võro

Terbium Azerbaijani
Терби [Terbi] Chuvash
Тербий [terbij] Kazakh
Тербий [Terbij] Kyrgyz
Терби [terbi] Mongolian
Terbiyum Turkish
تېربىي [terbiy] Uyghur
Terbiy Uzbek

Other (Europe)
Terbioa Basque
ტერბიუმი [terbiumi] Georgian

تربيوم [tarbiyūm] Arabic
טרביום [terbium] Hebrew
Terbju[m] Maltese

Thi̍t (鋱) Hakka
テルビウム [terubiumu] Japanese
테르븀, 2터븀 [tereubyum, teobyum] Korean
เทอร์เบียม [thoebiam] Thai
Tecbi Vietnamese
[te4 / tik7] Chinese

Terbyo Cebuano
Terbium Indonesian
Terbium Māori
Terbium Malay

Other Asiatic
ടെര്‍ബിയം [ṭerbiyam] Malayalam
தெர்பியம் [terpiyam] Tamil

Telebumu Lingala
Terbiamo Sesotho
Taribi Swahili

Terbio Nahuatl

Terbyu Quechua

Terbimi Sranan Tongo

Terbio Esperanto

New names
Terbion Atomic Elements
Socium Dorseyville
memory peg

Gray-white metal
melting point 1456 °C; 2473 °F
boiling point 3123 °C; 5653 °F
density 8.23 g/cc; 513.72 pounds/cubic foot
1843 Carl Gustav Mosander, Sweden
Ytterby, village in Sweden (just as Erbium, Yttrium, and Ytterbium!)

History & Etymology

The story of Terbium is part of the story of the rare earth elements, which starts with Yttrium. After his discovery of Didymium (1842, see Praseodymium). Carl Gustav Mosander (1797-1858) turned his attention to yttria. In autumn of 1842 he was sure that yttria contained other rare earths as Theodor Scheerer had suggested. In Berzelius's Annual Report for 1842, published in April 1843, the discovery was announced. This was also published in an annex dated July 1843 to the German translation of his paper on the metals he found in Cerium: "Ueber die das Cerium begleitenden neuen Metalle Lanthanium und Didymium, so wie über die mit der Yttererde vorkommenden neuen Metalle Erbium und Terbium" (On the new metals Lanthanum and Didymium, accompanying Cerium, and on the metals Erbium and Terbium occurring with yttria) (note):

Mosander has separated yttria into three earths, a colorless oxide which kept the name yttria; a yellow earth erbia, and a rosy earth terbia, containing the elements Yttrium, Terbium, and Erbium. Was it lack of phantasy? All three names were derived from the Ytterby quarry where the gadolinite was originally found in 1787. It is also said that since the original earth was divided into three new earths, Mosander split the name of Ytterby in three parts: ytt, terb, and erb.

Berlin (1860) denied the existence of Mosanderís erbia, and gave this name to terbia. Delafontaine (1864, 1878) followed him in this, but proved also that the original erbia existed, and gave this now the name terbia, thus:

color of oxydeMosander
1864, 1878

A new phase in the discovery of the rare earth elements started in the 1870s with the analysis of samarskite, found in Russia and in the United States (cf. Samarium). In 1878 the American chemist J. Lawrence Smith (1818-1883), researching samarskite found in North-Carolina, announced a new element, which he named Mosandrum, honouring the Swedish chemist Carl Gustav Mosander (note). Later was proved that it was impure terbia.

Mosander's original erbia was confirmed by Marc Delafontaine in 1878 and, renamed terbia, since the name erbia was already common for Mosander's terbia. Delafontaine illustrates his article with the following table, which should bring some clearness in the complicated matter of the rare earths (note):

Delafontaine's terbia was split by Marignac in 1886 into gadolinia and true terbia, which contained the present-day element Terbium.

The story is not ended yet. The unclear determination of the atomic weight (in the period 1864-1905 nine values were obtained, from 113 to 163,1), and by difficulties in interpreting the absorption spectrum. Lecoq described in 1886 the elements Zα and Zβ, the latter identical with Terbium (note), and Demarçay described imaginary elements like Ionium, Incognitium and Γ.

John and Gordon Marks suggested in 1994 the name Norium (No), together with Suevium (=Dysprosium) after Norway and Sweden where the lanthanides were discovered. The Marks brothers found the old names ugly and confusing. They offered alternative names that are equivalent contemporary (at the time and place of discovery) metaphors, both more euphonious and more memorable (note).


Terbium Road and Quarry Road in Ytterby, Summer 2009.

Click here
for more photos

Ytterby, a village in Sweden on the island of Resarö, close to Vaxholm (east of Stockholm) is a deposit of many unusual minerals, containing rare earth and other elements.

A Chronological list of discovery of the rare earths and their names and information and illustrations of Ytterby's quarry and a location map is on the Rare Earths page.

Further reading
  • Mary Elvira Weeks, Discovery of the Elements, comp. rev. by Henry M. Leicester (Easton, Pa.: Journal of Chemical Education, 1968), pp. 667-699.
  • Seltene Erden. Gmelins Handbuch der anorganische Chemie, 8. Aufl.; System-Nummer 39 (1938).
  • Lauri Niinistö, Swedish Contributions to the Discovery of Elements: Part 3: The Work of Mosander, Cleve and Nilson. ERES Newsletter, vol. 12, no. 1 (30 June 2001). (on-line).

Sources Index of Persons Index of Alleged Elements