proton (n.) Look up proton at
1920 in physics, coined by English physicist Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937) from noun use of Greek proton, neuter of protos "first" (see proto-), on analogy of electron; supposedly because hydrogen was hypothesized as a constituent of all the elements. The word was used earlier in embryology (1893) as a translation of German anlage ("fundamental thing") based on Aristotle's phrase he prote ousia to proton.