Elementymology & Elements Multidict
Silicium, Kiezel – Silizium – Silicium – Silicio – ヶィ素 – Кремний – 硅
GermanicSilikon (Kiesel ) Afrikaans
Silisium Frisian (West)
Silicium, Kiezel Dutch
Siliciu Romanian - Moldovan
SlavicСилиций [Silicij] Bulgarian
Крэмній [krèmnij] Belarusian
Силициум [Silicium] Macedonian
Кремний [Kremnij] Russian
Силицијум [Silicijum] Serbian
Кремній [kremnij] Ukrainian
Sileacón Gaelic (Irish)
Sileacon Gaelic (Scottish)
Shillagon Gaelic (Manx)
Other Indo-EuropeanΠυριτιο [pyritio] Greek
Սիլիցիում [silits'ium] Armenian
Кремний [kremnij] Ossetian
Силитсий [Silitziy] Tajik
Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryanসিলিকন [silikana] Bengali
سیلیسیم [sylysym] Persian
સિલિકોન [silikona] Gujarati
सिलिकॉन [silikona] Hindi
Кремний [Kremnij] Komi
Кремний [Kremnij] Mari
Ктаем [ataem] Moksha
Кремни [Kremni] Chuvash
Кремний [kremnij] Kazakh
Кремний [Kremnij] Kyrgyz
Цахиур [cahiur] Mongolian
سىلىتسىي [silitsiy] Uyghur
Other (Europe)Silizioa Basque
სიცილიუმი [sic'iliumi] Georgian
Afro-Asiaticسيلكون [silīkūn] Arabic
צורן [tsoran] Hebrew
Silikon, ²Siliċju Maltese
Sino-TibetanSi̍t (矽) Hakka
ヶィ素 [keiso] Japanese
규소 [gyuso] Korean
ซิลิคอน [silikhon] Thai
硅 [gui1 / gwai1] Chinese
Other Asiaticസിലിക്കണ് [silikkaṇ] Malayalam
சிலிக்கன் [cilikkaṉ] Tamil
South-AmericaUllayayaq, ²Silisyu Quechua
CreoleSilisimi Sranan Tongo
New namesSilicon Atomic Elements
History & Etymology
Silica (silicon dioxide, SiO2) is widely and most abundantly distributed in nature, both in the free state and in combination with metallic oxides. Free silica constitutes the greater part of sand and sandy rocks; when fairly pure it occurs in the large crystals which we know as quartz, and which, when coloured, form the gem-stones amethyst, cairngorm, cat's-eye and jasper. Amorphous forms also occur: chalcedony, and its coloured modifications agate, carnelian, onyx and sard, together with opal are examples.
Sir Humphry Davy in 1800 thought silica to be a compound and not an element. In 1808, he did experiments for the decomposition of alumine, silex, zircone, and glucine. He failed to isolate the metals in these, as he reported in his paper for the Royal Society of London on 30 June 1808, but he suggested names for the metals (note):
Later in 1811, Louis-Joseph Gay-Lussac (1778-1850) and Louis-Jacques Thénard (1777-1857) probably prepared impure amorphous Silicon by heating potassium with silicon tetrafluoride. Jakob Berzelius (1779-1848), generally credited with the discovery, in 1824 succeeded in preparing amorphous Silicon by the same general method as used earlier, but he purified the product by removing the fluosilicates by repeated washings.
The name Silicium is derived from silica > Latin silex for flint (SiO2), a hard stone. The Latin name silicium was adopted to conform with the -ium ending of most elements. The suffix -on in English was added because of its resemblance to Carbon.
Most languages use a form derived from the Latin silex, silicis = flint.
The Slavic кремень [kremen'] has the same meaning.
The Greek πυριτιο is connected with πυρ [pyr], meaning "fire". Flints were used to make fire (the Dutch word for flint, "vuursteen", means literally "fire stone").
In other languages the name has also a relation with flints: Finnish piikivi.
AndroniaAround 1800 there was a violent debate about concepts and methods between the supporters and opponents of the so-called Naturphilosophie ("natural philosophy"). The philosophers of nature declared that dualism is the principle of order everywhere in physics and chemistry (Kleinert). One of these was Jakob Joseph Winterl (1739-1809), professor of chemistry and botany in Budapest. Winterl foresaw in his Prolusiones ad chemiam saeculi decimi noni (Buda: Typographia Regia Univ. Pestinensis 1800), many forthcoming paths and discoveries of 19th century chemistry. According to the Naturphilosophie he supposed the existence of two substances, simpler than the normal elements and with a male or female basis. The male substance he called Andronia (Andronium), from the Greek androV, male; the female Thelike, from the Greek qhlukoV. From coal and salpeter he made a substance (earth?), considered by him as elemental. A sample was sent to a commission of the Académie des Sciences in Paris, and was found to be consist of Sicilium, Iron, Clay and Lime (Figurowski, 1981, 230 and 259).
SILICON, the chief substance in Glass and Pots,
Call'd Silicium, is a brown metalloid.
Silicon exists in three diff'rent forms:
Amorphous; in crystalslike the Diamond;
And scaleslike Graphite: the two later kinds scratch glass.
Silicon Amorphous has no lustre,
Heated in Air it burns till cover'd with Oxide.
Silica (the Dioxide) occurs largely
In flints, and the rocks forming the Earth's crust;
'Tis most abundant in the primary Rocks;
It will not vapour at any known heat.
The colourless, transparent Rock Crystal
Is nearly pure Silica. Agate, Quartz,
Flint, and Chalcedony, are chiefly Silica;
Silicon is never found in native state,
But combined with metals, or as Silica.