late 14c., "god of the sea," from Latin Neptunus, son of Saturn, brother of Jupiter, the Roman god of the sea (later identified with Greek Poseidon), probably from PIE root *nebh- "cloud" (source of Latin nebula "fog, mist, cloud"), via a sense of "moist, wet." The planet so named was discovered by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle (1812-1910) in 1846. Until the identification of Pluto in 1930, it was the most distant planet known.