"compound formed by the union of carbonic acid with a base," 1794, from French carbonate "salt of carbonic acid" (Lavoisier), from Modern Latin carbonatem "a carbonated (substance)," from Latin carbo (see carbon).
1805, "to form into a carbonate," from carbonate (n.) by influence of French carbonater "transform into a carbonate." Meaning "to impregnate with carbonic acid gas (i.e. carbon dioxide)" is from 1850s. Related: Carbonated; carbonating.