hydrogen (n.) Look up hydrogen at Dictionary.com
1791, from French hydrogène, coined 1787 by G. de Morveau, Lavoisier, Berthollet, and Fourcroy from Greek hydr-, stem of hydros "water" (see water (n.1)) + French -gène "producing" (see -gen). So called because it forms water when exposed to oxygen. Nativized in Russian as vodorod; in German, it is wasserstoff, "water-stuff." An earlier name for it in English was Cavendish's inflammable air (1767). Hydrogen bomb first recorded 1947; shortened form H-bomb is from 1950.