ammonia (n.)

volatile alkali, colorless gas with a strong pungent smell, 1799, coined in scientific Latin 1782 by Swedish chemist Torbern Bergman (1735-1784) as a name for the gas obtained from sal ammoniac, salt deposits containing ammonium chloride found near temple of Jupiter Ammon (from Egyptian God Amun) in Libya (see Ammon, and compare ammoniac). The shrine was ancient already in Augustus' day, and the salts were prepared "from the sands where the camels waited while their masters prayed for good omens" [Shipley], hence the mineral deposits. Also known as spirit of hartshorn and volatile alkali or animal alkali.