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What are the roots of the word aluminium?

I am interested since English and Americans spell the word differently (with and without the final i respectively).

Edit: If aluminum was the original word and was later amended to aluminium (as OpaCitiZen states below), why did the change take place? There are other elements which end in -um rather than -ium (e.g. platinum). Also, why was the change not universal?

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-1 and flagged as general reference. –  Hugo Oct 24 '11 at 9:44
    
@Hugo Really? Care to explain why? –  Urbycoz Oct 24 '11 at 9:50
    
Here's the close reason: "This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information." The single answer shows it's general reference by linking to an etymological dictionary. See also Are Some Questions Too Simple? –  Hugo Oct 24 '11 at 9:53
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It looks to me that this has been answered adequately by a single link. –  z7sg Ѫ Oct 24 '11 at 10:07
    
Still seems an incomplete argument to me. Why rename "aluminum", but not "platinum"? I've edited the question now. Hope you don't still think that's "too basic" for you, Hugo ;-) –  Urbycoz Oct 24 '11 at 10:12
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closed as general reference by Hugo, z7sg Ѫ, Jasper Loy, Mehper C. Palavuzlar, onomatomaniak Oct 24 '11 at 11:04

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

1812, coined by English chemist Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829), from L. alumen "alum" (see alum). Davy originally called it alumium (1808), then amended this to aluminum, which remains the U.S. word, but British editors in 1812 further amended it to aluminium, the modern preferred British form, to better harmonize with other element names (sodium, potassium, etc.).

Aluminium, for so we shall take the liberty of writing the word, in preference to aluminum, which has a less classical sound. ["Quarterly Review," 1812]

source: etymonline.com

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"a less classical sound"- how odd. So it essentially just "sounded" better. I imagined it was derived from Latin, Greek or such like. –  Urbycoz Oct 24 '11 at 9:51
    
@Urbycoz Yes, pretty much! Aluminum sounds like a Latin -um word (Latin is "classical"), but aluminium sounds like other existing element names (e.g. sodium, potassium). –  Hugo Oct 24 '11 at 9:56
    
Wonder why they didn't do the same for others (e.g. "Platinum") –  Urbycoz Oct 24 '11 at 10:08
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