metallic rare-earth element, 1879, coined in Modern Latin by Swedish chemist Carl Gustaf Mosander (1797-1858) from Ytterby, name of a town in Sweden where mineral containing it was found. With metallic element 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 terbium from WordNet
a metallic element of the rare earth group; used in lasers; occurs in apatite and monazite and xenotime and ytterbite;