brittle crystalline metal, 1660s, from obsolete German Bismuth, also Wismut, Wissmuth (early 17c.), which is of unknown origin; perhaps a miner's contraction of wis mat "white mass," from Old High German hwiz "white." Latinized 1530 by Georgius Agricola (who may have been the first to recognize it as an element) as bisemutum. According to Klein, not from Arabic. Related: Bismuthal; bismuthic.