radioactive metallic element, 1898, discovered by Marie Curie (nee Skłodowska), 1867-1934, and her husband, and named for her native country, Poland (Modern Latin Polonia). With element-name ending -ium.
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 polonium from WordNet
a radioactive metallic element that is similar to tellurium and bismuth; occurs in uranium ores but can be produced by bombarding bismuth with neutrons in a nuclear reactor;