tantalum (n.)

metallic element, 1809, Modern Latin, named 1802 by its discoverer, Swedish chemist Anders Ekberg (1767-1813), for Tantalus, according to Ekberg partly because of its inability to absorb acid recalled Tantalus' punishment in the afterlife (see tantalize). Sometimes it is said to be so called from the difficulty scientists faced in obtaining a pure specimen.

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