Chemical symbol

Chemical symbols are the abbreviations used in chemistry for chemical elements, functional groups and chemical compounds. Element symbols for chemical elements normally consist of one or two letters from the Latin alphabet and are written with the first letter capitalised.

The periodic table, elements being denoted by their symbols

HistoryEdit

Earlier symbols for chemical elements stem from classical Latin and Greek vocabulary. For some elements, this is because the material was known in ancient times, while for others, the name is a more recent invention. For example, Pb is the symbol for lead (plumbum in Latin); Hg is the symbol for mercury (hydrargyrum in Greek); and He is the symbol for helium (a new Latin name) because helium was not known in ancient Roman times. Some symbols come from other sources, like W for tungsten (Wolfram in German) which was not known in Roman times.

A three-letter temporary symbol may be assigned to a newly synthesized (or not yet synthesized) element. For example, "Uno" was the temporary symbol for hassium (element 108) which had the temporary name of unniloctium, based on the digits of its atomic number. There are also some historical symbols that are no longer officially used.

Extension of the symbolEdit

 
Annotated example of an atomic symbol

In addition to the letters for the element itself, additional details may be added to the symbol as superscripts or subscripts a particular isotope, ionization, or oxidation state, or other atomic detail.[1] A few isotopes have their own specific symbols rather than just an isotopic detail added to their element symbol.

Attached subscripts or superscripts specifying a nuclide or molecule have the following meanings and positions:

  • The nucleon number (mass number) is shown in the left superscript position (e.g., 14N). This number defines the specific isotope. Various letters, such as "m" and "f" may also be used here to indicate a nuclear isomer (e.g., 99mTc). Alternately, the number here can represent a specific spin state (e.g., 1O2). These details can be omitted if not relevant in a certain context.
  • The proton number (atomic number) may be indicated in the left subscript position (e.g., 64Gd). The atomic number is redundant to the chemical element, but is sometimes used to emphasize the change of numbers of nucleons in a nuclear reaction.
  • If necessary, a state of ionization or an excited state may be indicated in the right superscript position (e.g., state of ionization Ca2+).
  • The number of atoms of an element in a molecule or chemical compound is shown in the right subscript position (e.g., N2 or Fe2O3). If this number is one, it is normally omitted - the number one is implicitly understood if unspecified.
  • A radical is indicated by a dot on the right side (e.g., Cl for a neutral chlorine atom). This is often omitted unless relevant to a certain context because it is already deducible from the charge and atomic number, as generally true for nonbonded valence electrons in skeletal structures.

Many functional groups also have their own chemical symbol, e.g. Ph for the phenyl group, and Me for the methyl group.

A list of current, dated, as well as proposed and historical signs and symbols is included here with its signification. Also given is each element's atomic number, atomic weight, or the atomic mass of the most stable isotope, group and period numbers on the periodic table, and etymology of the symbol.

Symbols for chemical elementsEdit

List of chemical elements
Z Symbol Name Origin of name[2][3]
1 H Hydrogen Greek elements hydro- and -gen, meaning 'water-forming'
2 He Helium Greek hḗlios, 'sun'
3 Li Lithium Greek líthos, 'stone'
4 Be Beryllium beryl, a mineral (ultimately from the name of Belur in southern India)
5 B Boron borax, a mineral (from Arabic bawraq)
6 C Carbon Latin carbo, 'coal'
7 N Nitrogen Greek nítron and -gen, meaning 'niter-forming'
8 O Oxygen Greek oxy- and -gen, meaning 'acid-forming'
9 F Fluorine Latin fluere, 'to flow'
10 Ne Neon Greek néon, 'new'
11 Na Sodium English soda (the symbol Na is derived from New Latin natrium, coined from German Natron, 'natron')
12 Mg Magnesium Magnesia, a district of Eastern Thessaly in Greece
13 Al Aluminium alumina, from Latin alumen (gen. alumni), 'bitter salt, alum'
14 Si Silicon Latin silex, 'flint' (originally silicium)
15 P Phosphorus Greek phōsphóros, 'light-bearing'
16 S Sulfur Latin sulphur, 'brimstone'
17 Cl Chlorine Greek chlōrós, 'greenish yellow'
18 Ar Argon Greek argós, 'idle' (because of its inertness)
19 K Potassium New Latin potassa, 'potash' (the symbol K is derived from Latin kalium)
20 Ca Calcium Latin calx, 'lime'
21 Sc Scandium Latin Scandia, 'Scandinavia'
22 Ti Titanium Titans, the sons of the Earth goddess of Greek mythology
23 V Vanadium Vanadis, an Old Norse name for the Scandinavian goddess Freyja
24 Cr Chromium Greek chróma, 'colour'
25 Mn Manganese corrupted from magnesia negra; see Magnesium
26 Fe Iron English word (the symbol Fe is derived from Latin ferrum)
27 Co Cobalt German Kobold, 'goblin'
28 Ni Nickel Nickel, a mischievous sprite of German miner mythology
29 Cu Copper English word, from Latin cuprum, from Ancient Greek Kýpros 'Cyprus'
30 Zn Zinc Most likely from German Zinke, 'prong' or 'tooth', though some suggest Persian sang, 'stone'
31 Ga Gallium Latin Gallia, 'France'
32 Ge Germanium Latin Germania, 'Germany'
33 As Arsenic French arsenic, from Greek arsenikón 'yellow arsenic' (influenced by arsenikós, 'masculine' or 'virile'), from a West Asian wanderword ultimately from Old Iranian *zarniya-ka, 'golden'
34 Se Selenium Greek selḗnē, 'moon'
35 Br Bromine Greek brômos, 'stench'
36 Kr Krypton Greek kryptós, 'hidden'
37 Rb Rubidium Latin rubidus, 'deep red'
38 Sr Strontium Strontian, a village in Scotland
39 Y Yttrium Ytterby, a village in Sweden
40 Zr Zirconium zircon, a mineral
41 Nb Niobium Niobe, daughter of king Tantalus from Greek mythology
42 Mo Molybdenum Greek molýbdaina, 'piece of lead', from mólybdos, 'lead'
43 Tc Technetium Greek tekhnētós, 'artificial'
44 Ru Ruthenium New Latin Ruthenia, 'Russia'
45 Rh Rhodium Greek rhodóeis, 'rose-coloured', from rhódon, 'rose'
46 Pd Palladium the asteroid Pallas, considered a planet at the time
47 Ag Silver English word (The symbol derives from Latin argentum)
48 Cd Cadmium New Latin cadmia, from King Kadmos
49 In Indium Latin indicum, 'indigo' (colour found in its spectrum)
50 Sn Tin English word (The symbol derives from Latin stannum)
51 Sb Antimony Latin antimonium, the origin of which is uncertain: folk etymologies suggest it is derived from Greek antí ('against') + mónos ('alone'), or Old French anti-moine, 'Monk's bane', but it could plausibly be from or related to Arabic ʾiṯmid, 'antimony', reformatted as a Latin word. (The symbol derives from Latin stibium 'stibnite'.)
52 Te Tellurium Latin tellus, 'the ground, earth'
53 I Iodine French iode, from Greek ioeidḗs, 'violet'
54 Xe Xenon Greek xénon, neuter form of xénos 'strange'
55 Cs Caesium Latin caesius, 'sky-blue'
56 Ba Barium Greek barýs, 'heavy'
57 La Lanthanum Greek lanthánein, 'to lie hidden'
58 Ce Cerium the dwarf planet Ceres, considered a planet at the time
59 Pr Praseodymium Greek prásios dídymos, 'green twin'
60 Nd Neodymium Greek néos dídymos, 'new twin'
61 Pm Promethium Prometheus of Greek mythology
62 Sm Samarium samarskite, a mineral named after Colonel Vasili Samarsky-Bykhovets, Russian mine official
63 Eu Europium Europe
64 Gd Gadolinium gadolinite, a mineral named after Johan Gadolin, Finnish chemist, physicist and mineralogist
65 Tb Terbium Ytterby, a village in Sweden
66 Dy Dysprosium Greek dysprósitos, 'hard to get'
67 Ho Holmium New Latin Holmia, 'Stockholm'
68 Er Erbium Ytterby, a village in Sweden
69 Tm Thulium Thule, the ancient name for an unclear northern location
70 Yb Ytterbium Ytterby, a village in Sweden
71 Lu Lutetium Latin Lutetia, 'Paris'
72 Hf Hafnium New Latin Hafnia, 'Copenhagen' (from Danish havn)
73 Ta Tantalum King Tantalus, father of Niobe from Greek mythology
74 W Tungsten Swedish tung sten, 'heavy stone' (The symbol is from wolfram, the old name of the tungsten mineral wolframite)
75 Re Rhenium Latin Rhenus, 'the Rhine'
76 Os Osmium Greek osmḗ, 'smell'
77 Ir Iridium Iris, the Greek goddess of the rainbow
78 Pt Platinum Spanish platina, 'little silver', from plata 'silver'
79 Au Gold English word (The symbol derives from Latin aurum)
80 Hg Mercury Mercury, Roman god of commerce, communication, and luck, known for his speed and mobility (The symbol is from the element's Latin name hydrargyrum, derived from Greek hydrárgyros, 'water-silver')
81 Tl Thallium Greek thallós, 'green shoot or twig'
82 Pb Lead English word (The symbol derives from Latin plumbum)
83 Bi Bismuth German Wismut, from weiß Masse 'white mass', unless from Arabic
84 Po Polonium Latin Polonia, 'Poland' (the home country of Marie Curie)
85 At Astatine Greek ástatos, 'unstable'
86 Rn Radon radium
87 Fr Francium France
88 Ra Radium French radium, from Latin radius, 'ray'
89 Ac Actinium Greek aktís, 'ray'
90 Th Thorium Thor, the Scandinavian god of thunder
91 Pa Protactinium proto- (from Greek prôtos, 'first, before') + actinium, which is produced through the radioactive decay of protactinium
92 U Uranium Uranus, the seventh planet in the Solar System
93 Np Neptunium Neptune, the eighth planet in the Solar System
94 Pu Plutonium the dwarf planet Pluto, considered the ninth planet in the Solar System at the time
95 Am Americium The Americas, as the element was first synthesised on the continent, by analogy with europium
96 Cm Curium Pierre Curie and Marie Curie, French physicists and chemists
97 Bk Berkelium Berkeley, California, where the element was first synthesised, by analogy with terbium
98 Cf Californium California, where the element was first synthesised
99 Es Einsteinium Albert Einstein, German physicist
100 Fm Fermium Enrico Fermi, Italian physicist
101 Md Mendelevium Dmitri Mendeleev, Russian chemist and inventor who proposed the periodic table
102 No Nobelium Alfred Nobel, Swedish chemist and engineer
103 Lr Lawrencium Ernest O. Lawrence, American physicist
104 Rf Rutherfordium Ernest Rutherford, British chemist and physicist
105 Db Dubnium Dubna, Russia, where the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research is located
106 Sg Seaborgium Glenn T. Seaborg, American chemist
107 Bh Bohrium Niels Bohr, Danish physicist
108 Hs Hassium New Latin Hassia, 'Hesse' (a state in Germany)
109 Mt Meitnerium Lise Meitner, Austrian physicist
110 Ds Darmstadtium Darmstadt, Germany, where the element was first synthesised
111 Rg Roentgenium Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, German physicist
112 Cn Copernicium Nicolaus Copernicus, Polish astronomer
113 Nh Nihonium Japanese Nihon, 'Japan' (where the element was first synthesised)
114 Fl Flerovium Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions, part of JINR, where the element was synthesised; itself named after Georgy Flyorov, Russian physicist
115 Mc Moscovium Moscow Oblast, Russia, where the element was first synthesised
116 Lv Livermorium Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, which collaborated with JINR on its synthesis
117 Ts Tennessine Tennessee, United States
118 Og Oganesson Yuri Oganessian, Russian physicist

Symbols and names not currently usedEdit

The following is a list of symbols and names formerly used or suggested for elements, including symbols for placeholder names and names given by discredited claimants for discovery.

Symbol Name Atomic
number
Notes Why not
used
Refs
A Argon 18 A used for Argon until 1957. Current symbol is Ar. [nb 1] [4]
Ab Alabamine 85 Discredited claim to discovery of astatine. [nb 2] [5][6]
Ad Aldebaranium 70 Former name for ytterbium. [nb 2]
Ah Anglohelvetium 85 Discredited claim to discovery of astatine. [nb 2] [7]
Ak Alkalinium 87 Discredited claim to discovery of francium. [nb 2] [5]
Am Alabamine 85 Discredited claim to discovery of astatine. The symbol Am is now used for americium. [nb 2] [5][6]
An Athenium 99 Proposed name for einsteinium. [nb 3]
Ao Ausonium 93 Discredited claim to discovery of neptunium. [nb 2] [5]
At Austriacum 84 Discredited claim to discovery of polonium. The symbol At is now used for astatine. [nb 2]
Az Azote 7 Former name for nitrogen. [nb 1]
Bo Bohemium 93 Discredited claim to discovery of neptunium. [nb 2]
Bo Boron 5 Current symbol is B. [nb 1]
Bv Brevium 91 Former name for protactinium. [nb 1]
Bz Berzelium 90 Baskerville wrongly believed berzelium to be a new element. Was actually thorium. [7]
Cb Columbium 41 Former name for niobium. [nb 1] [5][7]
Ch Chromium 24 Current symbol is Cr. [nb 1]
Cl Columbium 41 Former name for niobium. The symbol Cl is now used for chlorine. [nb 1]
Cm Catium 87 Proposed name for francium. The symbol Cm is now used for curium. [nb 3]
Cn Carolinium 90 Baskerville wrongly believed carolinium to be a new element. Was actually thorium. The symbol Cn is now used for copernicium. [7]
Cp Cassiopeium 71 Former name for lutetium. [nb 1]
Cp Copernicium 112 Current symbol is Cn. [nb 1]
Ct Celtium 72 Discredited claim to discovery of hafnium. [nb 2]
Ct Centurium 100 Proposed name for fermium. [nb 3]
Cy Cyclonium 61 Proposed name for promethium. [nb 3]
D Didymium 59/60 Mixture of the elements praseodymium and neodymium. Mosander wrongly believed didymium to be an element. [8]
Da Davyum 43 Discredited claim to discovery of technetium. [nb 2] [5]
Db Dubhium 69 Eder wrongly believed dubhium to be a new element. Was actually thulium. The symbol Db is now used for dubnium.
Db Dubnium 104 Proposed name for rutherfordium. The symbol and name were instead used for element 105. [nb 1][nb 3] [5]
Dc Decipium 62 Delafontaine wrongly believed decipium to be a new element. Was actually samarium.
Dc Dvicaesium 87 Name given by Mendeleev to an as of then undiscovered element. When discovered, francium closely matched the prediction. [nb 3][nb 4]
De Denebium 69 Eder wrongly believed denebium to be a new element. Was actually thulium.
Di Didymium 59/60 Mixture of the elements praseodymium and neodymium. Mosander wrongly believed didymium to be an element. [8]
Do Dor 85 Discredited claim to discovery of astatine. [nb 2] [7]
Dn Dubnadium 118 Proposed name for oganesson. [nb 3]
Dp Decipium 62 Delafontaine wrongly believed decipium to be a new element. Was actually samarium.
Ds Dysprosium 66 Current symbol is Dy. The symbol Ds is now used for darmstadtium. [nb 1]
Dt Dvitellurium 84 Name given by Mendeleev to an as of then undiscovered element. When discovered, polonium closely matched the prediction. [nb 3][nb 4]
E Einsteinium 99 Current symbol is Es. [nb 1]
E Erbium 68 Current symbol is Er. [nb 1]
Ea Ekaaluminium 31 Name given by Mendeleev to an as of then undiscovered element. When discovered, gallium closely matched the prediction. [nb 3][nb 4]
Eb Ekaboron 21 Name given by Mendeleev to an as of then undiscovered element. When discovered, scandium closely matched the prediction. [nb 3][nb 4] [5]
Eb Erebodium 42 Alexander Pringle wrongly believed erebodium to be a new element. Was actually molybdenum.
El Ekaaluminium 31 Name given by Mendeleev to an as of then undiscovered element. When discovered, gallium closely matched the prediction. [nb 3][nb 4] [5]
Em Ekamanganese 43 Name given by Mendeleev to an as of then undiscovered element. When discovered, technetium closely matched the prediction. [nb 3][nb 4] [5]
Em Emanation 86 Also called "radium emanation", the name was originally given by Friedrich Ernst Dorn in 1900.
In 1923, this element officially became radon (the name given at one time to 222Rn, an isotope identified in the decay chain of radium).
[nb 1] [5]
Em Emanium 89 Alternate name formerly proposed for actinium. [nb 3]
Es Ekasilicon 32 Name given by Mendeleev to a then undiscovered element. When discovered, germanium closely matched the prediction.
The symbol Es is now used for einsteinium.
[nb 3][nb 4] [5]
Es Esperium 94 Discredited claim to discovery of plutonium. The symbol Es is now used for einsteinium. [nb 2] [5]
Et Ekatantalum 91 Name given by Mendeleev to an as of then undiscovered element. When discovered, protactinium closely matched the prediction. [nb 3][nb 4]
Ex Euxenium 72 Discredited claim to discovery of hafnium. [nb 2]
Fa Francium 87 Current symbol is Fr. [nb 1]
Fl Florentium 61 Discredited claim to discovery of promethium. The symbol Fl is now used for flerovium. [nb 2]
Fl Fluorine 9 Current symbol is F. The symbol Fl is now used for flerovium. [nb 1]
Fr Florentium 61 Discredited claim to discovery of promethium. The symbol Fr is now used for francium. [nb 2] [5]
G Glucinium 4 Former name for beryllium. [nb 1]
Gh Ghiorsium 118 Discredited claim to discovery of oganesson. [nb 2]
Gl Glucinium 4 Former name for beryllium. [nb 1] [5]
Ha Hahnium 105 Proposed name for dubnium. [nb 3]
Hn Hahnium 108 Proposed name for hassium. [nb 3] [5]
Hv Helvetium 85 Discredited claim to discovery of astatine. [nb 2] [7]
Hy Mercury 80 Hy from the Greek hydrargyrum for "liquid silver". Current symbol is Hg. [nb 1] [4]
I Iridium 77 Current symbol is Ir. The symbol I is now used for iodine. [nb 1]
Ic Incognitium 65 Demarçay wrongly believed incognitium to be a new element. Was actually terbium.
Il Illinium 61 Discredited claim to discovery of promethium. [nb 2] [5]
Il Ilmenium 41/73 Mixture of the elements niobium and tantalum. R. Hermann wrongly believed ilmenium to be an element.
Io Ionium 65 Demarçay wrongly believed ionium to be a new element. Was actually terbium.
J Jodium 53 Former name for iodine. [nb 1]
Jg Jargonium 72 Discredited claim to discovery of hafnium. [nb 2] [5]
Jl Joliotium 105 Proposed name for dubnium. [nb 3] [5]
Jp Japonium 113 Proposed name for nihonium. [nb 3]
Ka Potassium 19 Current symbol is K. [nb 1]
Ku Kurchatovium 104 Proposed name for rutherfordium. [nb 3] [5]
L Lithium 3 Current symbol is Li. [nb 1]
Lw Lawrencium 103 Current symbol is Lr. [nb 1]
M Muriaticum 17 Former name for chlorine. [nb 1]
Ma Manganese 25 Current symbol is Mn. [nb 1]
Ma Masurium 43 Disputed claim to discovery of technetium. [nb 2] [5]
Md Mendelevium 97 Proposed name for berkelium. The symbol and name were later used for element 101. [nb 1][nb 3]
Ml Moldavium 87 Discredited claim to discovery of francium. [nb 2] [7]
Ms Magnesium 12 Current symbol is Mg. [nb 1]
Ms Masrium 88 Discredited claim to discovery of radium. [nb 2]
Ms Masurium 43 Disputed claim to discovery of technetium. [nb 2]
Ms Mosandrium 65 Smith wrongly believed mosandrium to be a new element. Was actually terbium.
Mv Mendelevium 101 Current symbol is Md. [nb 1]
Ng Norwegium 72 Discredited claim to discovery of hafnium. [nb 2]
No Norium 72 Discredited claim to discovery of hafnium. The symbol No is now used for nobelium. [nb 2]
Np Neptunium 91 Discredited claim to discovery of protactinium. The symbol and name were later used for element 93. [nb 2] [9]
Np Nipponium 43 Discredited claim to discovery of technetium. The symbol Np is now used for neptunium. [nb 2] [5]
Ns Nielsbohrium 105 Proposed name for dubnium. [nb 3] [5]
Ns Nielsbohrium 107 Proposed name for bohrium. [nb 3] [5]
Nt Niton 86 Former name for radon. [nb 1] [5]
Ny Neoytterbium 70 Former name for ytterbium. [nb 1]
P Lead 82 Current symbol is Pb. The symbol P is now used for phosphorus. [nb 1]
Pa Palladium 46 Current symbol is Pd. The symbol Pa is now used for protactinium. [nb 1]
Pe Pelopium 41 Former name for niobium. [nb 1]
Ph Phosphorus 15 Current symbol is P. [nb 1]
Pl Palladium 46 Current symbol is Pd. [nb 1]
Pm Polymnestum 33 Alexander Pringle wrongly believed polymnestum to be a new element. Was actually arsenic. The symbol Pm is now used for promethium.
Po Potassium 19 Current symbol is K. The symbol Po is now used for polonium. [nb 1]
Pp Philippium 67 Delafontaine wrongly believed philippium to be a new element. Was actually holmium.
R Rhodium 45 Current symbol is Rh. (The symbol is now sometimes used for an alkyl group.) [nb 1]
Rd Radium 88 Current symbol is Ra. [nb 1]
Rf Rutherfordium 106 Proposed name for seaborgium. The symbol and name were instead used for element 104. [nb 1][nb 3] [5]
Ro Rhodium 45 Current symbol is Rh. [nb 1]
Sa Samarium 62 Current symbol is Sm. [nb 1] [5]
So Sodium 11 Current symbol is Na. [nb 1]
Sq Sequanium 93 Discredited claim to discovery of neptunium. [nb 2]
St Antimony 51 Current symbol is Sb. [nb 1]
St Tin 50 Current symbol is Sn. [nb 1]
Tm Trimanganese 75 Name given by Mendeleev to an as of then undiscovered element. When discovered, rhenium closely matched the prediction. The symbol Tm is now used for thulium. [nb 3][nb 4]
Tn Tungsten 74 Current symbol is W. [nb 1]
Tr Terbium 65 Current symbol is Tb. [nb 1]
Tu Thulium 69 Current symbol is Tm. [nb 1]
Tu Tungsten 74 Current symbol is W. [nb 1]
Unb Unnilbium 102 Temporary name given to nobelium until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Une Unnilennium 109 Temporary name given to meitnerium until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Unh Unnilhexium 106 Temporary name given to seaborgium until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Uno Unniloctium 108 Temporary name given to hassium until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Unp Unnilpentium 105 Temporary name given to dubnium until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Unq Unnilquadium 104 Temporary name given to rutherfordium until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Uns Unnilseptium 107 Temporary name given to bohrium until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Unt Unniltrium 103 Temporary name given to lawrencium until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Unu Unnilunium 101 Temporary name given to mendelevium until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Uub Ununbium 112 Temporary name given to copernicium until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Uuh Ununhexium 116 Temporary name given to livermorium until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Uun Ununnilium 110 Temporary name given to darmstadtium until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Uuo Ununoctium 118 Temporary name given to oganesson until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Uup Ununpentium 115 Temporary name given to moscovium until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Uuq Ununquadium 114 Temporary name given to flerovium until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Uus Ununseptium 117 Temporary name given to tennessine until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Uut Ununtrium 113 Temporary name given to nihonium until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Uuu Unununium 111 Temporary name given to roentgenium until it was permanently named by IUPAC. [nb 4]
Ur Uralium 75 Discredited claim to discovery of rhenium. [nb 2]
Ur Uranium 92 Current symbol is U. [nb 1]
Vc Victorium 64 Crookes wrongly believed victorium to be a new element. Was actually gadolinium.
Vi Victorium 64 Crookes wrongly believed victorium to be a new element. Was actually gadolinium.
Vi Virginium 87 Discredited claim to discovery of francium. [nb 2] [5]
Vm Virginium 87 Discredited claim to discovery of francium. [nb 2] [5]
Va Vanadium 23 Current symbol is V. [nb 1]
Wo Tungsten 74 Current symbol is W. [nb 1]
X Xenon 54 Current symbol is Xe. The symbol X is now used for any halogen. [nb 1]
Yt Yttrium 39 Current symbol is Y. [nb 1] [5]

Alchemical symbolsEdit

The following ideographic symbols were employed in alchemy to symbolize elements known since ancient times. Not included in this list are spurious elements, such as the classical elements fire and water, and substances now known to be compounds. Many more symbols were in at least sporadic use: one early 17th-century alchemical manuscript lists 22 symbols for mercury alone.[10]

Planetary names and symbols for the metals – the seven planets and seven metals known since Classical times in Europe and the Mideast – was ubiquitous in alchemy. The association of what are anachronistically known as planetary metals started breaking down with the discovery of antimony, bismuth and zinc in the 16th century. Alchemists would typically call the metals by their planetary names, e.g. "Saturn" for lead and "Mars" for iron; compounds of tin, iron and silver continued to be called "jovial", "martial" and "lunar"; or "of Jupiter", "of Mars" and "of the moon", through the 17th century. The tradition remains today with the name of the element mercury, where chemists decided the planetary name was preferable to common names like "quicksilver", and in a few archaic terms such as lunar caustic (silver nitrate) and saturnism (lead poisoning).[10]

Alchemical symbols for the modern elements
Symbol Element Atomic
number
Notes
Magnesium 12
🜍 Sulfur 16
Iron 26 planetary metal of Mars
  Nickel 28 (old positional variant of arsenic)
Copper 29 Stellae Fixae, pre–16th-century[11]: 14 
planetary metal of Venus
  🜺 Arsenic 33
Silver 47 planetary metal of the Moon
🜛
Tin 50 planetary metal of Jupiter
Antimony 51 the "eighth metal" was given the symbol for the Earth, which was recognized as a planet by that time
  Platinum 78 A compound of ☉ gold and ☾ silver
symbol invented for the new planet Uranus
Gold 79 planetary metal for the Sun; from the 16th century[11]: 37 
from 1700 through 1783[11]: 37 
🜚 classical symbol
♓︎ Mercury 80 pre–16th-century[citation needed]
from the 17th century[11]: 37 
planetary metal for Mercury[11]: 37 
Lead 82 planetary metal for Saturn[11]: 37 
♉︎ Bismuth 83 used by Torbern Bergman (1775)

Daltonian symbolsEdit

 
Dalton's symbols for the more common elements, as of 1806, and the relative weights he calculated. The symbols for magnesium and calcium ("lime") were replaced by 1808, and that for gold was simplified.

The following symbols were employed by John Dalton in the early 1800s as the periodic table of elements was being formulated. Not included in this list are substances now known to be compounds, such as certain rare-earth mineral blends. Modern alphabetic notation was introduced in 1814 by Jöns Jakob Berzelius; its precursor can be seen in Dalton's circled letters for the metals, especially in his augmented table from 1810.[12] A trace of Dalton's conventions also survives in ball-and-stick models of molecules, where balls for carbon are black and for oxygen red.

Daltonian symbols for the elements
Symbol Dalton's name Modern name Atomic
number
Notes Refs
img. char.
  hydrogen 1 or ⊙ [13]
  glucine beryllium 4 alchemical symbol for 'sugar' [14]
  carbone, carbon carbon 6 [13]
  azote nitrogen/azote 7 alchemical symbol for niter [13]
  oxygen 8 or ◯ [13]
  soda sodium 11 [13]
  magnesia magnesium 12 alchemical symbol for magnesia [13]
  alumine aluminium 13 (4 dots) [13]
  🟕 silex silicon 14 [14]
  phosphorus 15 (3 radii) [13]
  🜨 sulphur 16 [13]
  potash potassium 19 (3 vertical lines) [13]
  lime calcium 20 or ◎ [13]
titanium 22 (enclosing circle) Tit [14]
manganese 25 (enclosing circle) Ma [14]
iron 26 [13]
nickel 28 [13]
cobalt 27 (enclosing circle) Cob [14]
copper 29 (black letter in red circle) [13]
zinc 30 [13]
arsenic 33 (enclosing circle) Ar [14]
  strontian strontium 38 (4 ticks) [13]
  ⊕︀ yttria yttrium 39 (plus does not touch circle) [14]
  zircone zirconium 40 (vertical zigzag) [14]
silver 47 [13]
tin 50 [14]
antimony 51 (enclosing circle) An [14]
  barytes barium 56 (6 ticks) [13]
cerium 58 (enclosing circle) Ce [14]
tungsten 74 (enclosing circle) Tu [14]
platina platinum 78 (black letter in red circle) [13]
gold 79 [13]
  mercury 80 (dotted inside perimeter) [13]
lead 82 [13]
bismuth 83 [14]
uranium 92 [14]

Symbols for named isotopesEdit

The following is a list of isotopes of elements given in the previous tables which have been designated unique symbols. By this it is meant that a comprehensive list of current systematic symbols (in the uAtom form) is not included in the list and can instead be found in the Isotope index chart. The symbols for the named isotopes of hydrogen, deuterium (D), and tritium (T) are still in use today, as is thoron (Tn) for radon-220 (though not actinon; An is usually used instead for a generic actinide). Heavy water and other deuterated solvents are commonly used in chemistry, and it is convenient to use a single character rather than a symbol with a subscript in these cases. The practice also continues with tritium compounds. When the name of the solvent is given, a lowercase d is sometimes used. For example, d6-benzene and C6D6 can be used instead of C6[2H6].[15]

The symbols for isotopes of elements other than hydrogen and radon are no longer in use within the scientific community. Many of these symbols were designated during the early years of radiochemistry, and several isotopes (namely those in the decay chains of actinium, radium, and thorium) bear placeholder names using the early naming system devised by Ernest Rutherford.[16]

Symbol Name Atomic
number
Origin of symbol
Ac Actinium 89 From the Greek aktinos. Name restricted at one time to 227Ac, an isotope of actinium. This named isotope later became the official name for element 89.
AcA Actinium A 84 From actinium and A. Placeholder name given at one time to 215Po, an isotope of polonium identified in the decay chain of actinium.
AcB Actinium B 82 From actinium and B. Placeholder name given at one time to 211Pb, an isotope of lead identified in the decay chain of actinium.
AcC Actinium C 83 From actinium and C. Placeholder name given at one time to 211Bi, an isotope of bismuth identified in the decay chain of actinium.
AcC' Actinium C' 84 From actinium and C'. Placeholder name given at one time to 211Po, an isotope of polonium identified in the decay chain of actinium.
AcC" Actinium C" 81 From actinium and C". Placeholder name given at one time to 207Tl, an isotope of thallium identified in the decay chain of actinium.
AcK Actinium K 87 Name given at one time to 223Fr, an isotope of francium identified in the decay chain of actinium.
AcU Actino-uranium 92 Name given at one time to 235U, an isotope of uranium.
AcX Actinium X 88 Name given at one time to 223Ra, an isotope of radium identified in the decay chain of actinium.
An Actinon 86 From actinium and emanation. Name given at one time to 219Rn, an isotope of radon identified in the decay chain of actinium.
D Deuterium 1 From the Greek deuteros. Name given to 2H.
Io Ionium 90 Name given to 230Th, an isotope of thorium identified in the decay chain of uranium.
MsTh1 Mesothorium 1 88 Name given at one time to 228Ra, an isotope of radium.
MsTh2 Mesothorium 2 89 Name given at one time to 228Ac, an isotope of actinium.
Pa Protactinium 91 From the Greek protos and actinium. Name restricted at one time to 231Pa, an isotope of protactinium. This named isotope later became the official name for element 91.
Ra Radium 88 From the Latin radius. Name restricted at one time to 226Ra, an isotope of radium. This named isotope later became the official name for element 88.
RaA Radium A 84 From radium and A. Placeholder name given at one time to 218Po, an isotope of polonium identified in the decay chain of radium.
RaB Radium B 82 From radium and B. Placeholder name given at one time to 214Pb, an isotope of lead identified in the decay chain of radium.
RaC Radium C 83 From radium and C. Placeholder name given at one time to 214Bi, an isotope of bismuth identified in the decay chain of radium.
RaC' Radium C' 84 From radium and C'. Placeholder name given at one time to 214Po, an isotope of polonium identified in the decay chain of radium.
RaC" Radium C" 81 From radium and C". Placeholder name given at one time to 210Tl, an isotope of thallium identified in the decay chain of radium.
RaD Radium D 82 From radium and D. Placeholder name given at one time to 210Pb, an isotope of lead identified in the decay chain of radium.
RaE Radium E 83 From radium and E. Placeholder name given at one time to 210Bi, an isotope of bismuth identified in the decay chain of radium.
RaE" Radium E" 81 From radium and E". Placeholder name given at one time to 206Tl, an isotope of thallium identified in the decay chain of radium.
RaF Radium F 84 From radium and F. Placeholder name given at one time to 210Po, an isotope of polonium identified in the decay chain of radium.
RdAc Radioactinium 90 Name given at one time to 227Th, an isotope of thorium.
RdTh Radiothorium 90 Name given at one time to 228Th, an isotope of thorium.
Rn Radon 86 From radium and emanation. Name restricted at one time to 222Rn, an isotope of radon identified in the decay chain of radium. This named isotope later became the official name for element 86 in 1923.
T Tritium 1 From the Greek tritos. Name given to 3H.
Th Thorium 90 After Thor. Name restricted at one time to 232Th, an isotope of thorium. This named isotope later became the official name for element 90.
ThA Thorium A 84 From thorium and A. Placeholder name given at one time to 216Po, an isotope of polonium identified in the decay chain of thorium.
ThB Thorium B 82 From thorium and B. Placeholder name given at one time to 212Pb, an isotope of lead identified in the decay chain of thorium.
ThC Thorium C 83 From thorium and C. Placeholder name given at one time to 212Bi, an isotope of bismuth identified in the decay chain of thorium.
ThC' Thorium C' 84 From thorium and C'. Placeholder name given at one time to 212Po, an isotope of polonium identified in the decay chain of thorium.
ThC" Thorium C" 81 From thorium and C". Placeholder name given at one time to 208Tl, an isotope of thallium identified in the decay chain of thorium.
ThX Thorium X 88 Name given at one time to 224Ra, an isotope of radium identified in the decay chain of thorium.
Tn Thoron 86 From thorium and emanation. Name given at one time to 220Rn, an isotope of radon identified in the decay chain of thorium.
UI Uranium I 92 Name given at one time to 238U, an isotope of uranium.
UII Uranium II 92 Name given at one time to 234U, an isotope of uranium.
UX1 Uranium X1 90 Name given at one time to 234Th, an isotope of thorium identified in the decay chain of uranium.
UX2 Uranium X2 91 Name given at one time to 234mPa, an isotope of protactinium identified in the decay chain of uranium.
UY Uranium Y 90 Name given at one time to 231Th, an isotope of thorium identified in the decay chain of uranium.
UZ Uranium Z 91 Name given at one time to 234Pa, an isotope of protactinium identified in the decay chain of uranium.

Other symbolsEdit

General:

From organic chemistry:

Exotic atoms:

Hazard pictographs are another type of symbols used in chemistry.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb Name changed due to a standardization of, modernization of, or update to older formerly-used symbol.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae Name designated by discredited/disputed claimant.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Name proposed prior to discovery/creation of element or prior to official renaming of a placeholder name.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Temporary placeholder name.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ IUPAC Provisional Recommendations: IR-3: Elements and Groups of Elements (PDF) (Report). IUPAC. March 2004.
  2. ^ "Periodic Table – Royal Society of Chemistry". www.rsc.org.
  3. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". etymonline.com.
  4. ^ a b Holden, N. E. (12 March 2004). "History of the Origin of the Chemical Elements and Their Discoverers". National Nuclear Data Center.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Leal, João P. (2013). "The Forgotten Names of Chemical Elements". Foundations of Science. 19 (2): 175–183. doi:10.1007/s10699-013-9326-y.
  6. ^ a b "Fred Allison". Encyclopedia of Alabama.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Fontani, Marco; Costa, Mariagrazia; Orna, Mary Virginia (2014). The Lost Elements: The Periodic Table's Shadow Side. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199383344.
  8. ^ a b Praseodymium on was.chemistryexplained.com.
  9. ^ Rang, F. (1895). "The Period-Table". The Chemical News and Journal of Physical Science. 72: 200–201.
  10. ^ a b Maurice Crosland (2004) Historical Studies in the Language of Chemistry
  11. ^ a b c d e f Lapp, Ralph E. (1963). "1: An Endless Searching for Substance / 2: The Basic Ingredients of a Complex World". Matter. New York: Time, Inc.: Printed by Jerome S. Hardy, Time-Life Science Library. pp. 8–38.
  12. ^ Berzelius, Jöns Jakob. "Essay on the Cause of Chemical Proportions, and on Some Circumstances Relating to Them: Together with a Short and Easy Method of Expressing Them." Annals of Philosophy 2, Pp.443–454 (1813); 3, Pp.51–52, 93–106, 244–255, 353–364 (1814); (Subsequently republished in "A Source Book in Chemistry, 1400-1900", eds. Leicester, Henry M. & Herbert S. Klickstein. 1952.)
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Dalton, John (1808). "III: On Chemical Synthesis - Section 1: Explanation of the Plates - Plate 4: Elements". A New System of Chemical Philosophy. Part I. Manchester: Printed by S. Russell for R. Bickerstaff, Strand, London. pp. 217–220.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Dalton, John (1810). "V: Compounds of two Elements - Section 12: Earths - Explanation of Plates - Plate 5: Elements". A New System of Chemical Philosophy. Part II. Manchester: Printed by Russell & Allen for R. Bickerstaff, Strand, London. pp. 546–548.
  15. ^ IUPAC. "Isotopically Modified Compounds". IUPAC. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  16. ^ Morgan, G. T., ed. (1905). "Annual Reports on the Progress of Chemistry for 1904". Journal of the Chemical Society. Gurney & Jackson. 1: 268. In view of the extraordinarily complex nature of the later changes occurring in Radium, Rutherford has proposed a new and convenient system of nomenclature. The first product of the change of the radium emanation is named radium A, the next radium B, and so on.
  17. ^ Jurczyk, M.; Rajewski, W.; Majchrzycki, W.; Wójcik, G. (1999-08-30). "Mechanically alloyed MmNi5-type materials for metal hydride electrodes". Journal of Alloys and Compounds. 290 (1–2): 262–266. doi:10.1016/S0925-8388(99)00202-9.

External linksEdit