aluminum (n.)

1812, coined by English chemist Sir Humphry Davy, from alumina, alumine, name given by French chemists late 18c. to aluminum oxide, from Latin alumen "alum" (see alum). Davy originally called it alumium (1808), then amended this to aluminum, which remains the U.S. word, but British editors in 1812 further amended it to aluminium, the modern preferred British form, to better harmonize with other metallic element names (sodium, potassium, etc.).

Aluminium, for so we shall take the liberty of writing the word, in preference to aluminum, which has a less classical sound. ["Quarterly Review," 1812]

Aluminum foil attested by 1859; popularized in food packaging from c. 1950.

Others Are Reading