c. 1300, "region of continental Europe inhabited by Germanic peoples," in a broad sense, from Latin Germania, a Roman designation (see German (n.)). In Middle English the place also was called Almaine (early 14c.), later Almany (16c.-17c.); see Alemanni. Middle English writers, following Latin, sometimes wrote of two Germanies, distinguishing the Alps and the region below the Danube from the region above it.
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).
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Definitions of germanium from WordNet
a brittle grey crystalline element that is a semiconducting metalloid (resembling silicon) used in transistors; occurs in germanite and argyrodite;