lithium (n.)Related entries & more
silver-white metallic element, 1818, with element ending -ium + lithia, Modern Latin name given by Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779-1848) to the earth from which it was extracted, from Greek lithos "stone" (see litho-). The name indicates its mineral origin and distinguishes it from two previously known alkalis of vegetable origin.
lithic (adj.)Related entries & more
1797, "pertaining to or consisting of stone," from Greek lithikos "of or pertaining to stone," from lithos "stone" (see litho-). From 1875 as "pertaining to lithium.
-iumRelated entries & more
word-forming element in chemistry, used to coin element names, from Latin adjectival suffix -ium (neuter of -ius), which formed metal names in Latin (ferrum "iron," aurum "gold," etc.). In late 18c chemists began to pay attention to the naming of their substances with words that indicate their chemical properties. Berzelius in 1811 proposed forming all element names in Modern Latin. As the names of some recently discovered metallic elements already were in Latin form (uranium, chromium, borium, etc.), the pattern of naming metallic elements in -ium or -um was maintained (in cadmium, lithium, plutonium, etc.; helium is an anomaly).