"a metalliferous mineral or rock," especially one worth mining, 12c., a merger of Old English ora "ore, unworked metal" (related to eorþe "earth;" see earth (n.); and cognate with Low German ur "iron-containing ore," Dutch oer, Old Norse aurr "gravel"); and Old English ar "brass, copper, bronze," from Proto-Germanic *ajiz- (source also of Old Norse eir "brass, copper," German ehern "brazen," Gothic aiz "bronze"), from PIE root *aus- (2) "gold" (see aureate). The two words were not fully assimilated till 17c.; what emerged has the regular modern form of ar but the meaning of ora.
malleable metallic element, noted for its peculiar red color, tenacity, malleability, and electric conductivity, late Old English coper, from Proto-Germanic *kupar (source also of Middle Dutch koper, Old Norse koparr, Old High German kupfar), from Late Latin cuprum, contraction of Latin Cyprium (aes) "Cyprian (metal)," after Greek Kyprios "Cyprus" (see Cyprus).
Ancient Greek had khalkos "ore, copper, bronze;" an old IE word for "ore, copper, bronze" is retained in Sanskrit ayah, Latin aes. Latin aes originally was "copper," but this was extended to its alloy with tin (see bronze), and as this was far more extensively used than pure copper, the word's primary sense shifted to the alloy and a new word evolved for "copper," from the Latin form of the name of the island of Cyprus, where copper was mined (the alchemists associated copper with Venus).
Aes passed into Germanic (which originally did not distinguish copper from its alloys) and became English ore. In Latin, aes was the common word for "cash, coin, debt, wages" in many figurative expressions. Chemical symbol Cu is from cuprum.
As "a copper coin," from 1580s; as "a vessel made of copper," 1660s. The adjective, "of or resembling copper," is from 1570s; the verb, "to cover with copper" is from 1520s.
early 15c., "of metal, made from metal," from Latin metallicus "of or belonging to metal," from Greek metallikos, from metallon "metal, ore" (see metal). Specific use in chemistry, indicating the condition of a metal in which it exists by itself, not mineralized or combined with substances which convert it into an ore, is by 1797.
in elocution, "characterized by strength, fullness, richness, and clearness," 1792, from Latin ore rotundo "in well-rounded phrases," literally "with round mouth" (see ore rotundo).
The odd thing about the word is that its only currency, at least in its non-technical sense, is among those who should most abhor it, the people of sufficient education to realize its bad formation; it is at once a monstrosity in its form & a pedantry in its use. [Fowler]