antimony

Definitions

General Science

  • noun a crystalline silvery-white element that is toxic and occurs in metallic and nonmetallic forms. It is used in alloys and semiconductors and found in ores, e.g. stibnite.

Electronics

Publishing

  • noun a metal which forms part of the alloy used in metal type

Information & Library Science

  • abbreviation in Internet addresses, the top-level domain for Solomon Islands

Origin & History of “antimony”

Antimony, from medieval Latin antimōnium, was used by alchemists of the middle Ages for ‘stibnite’, the mineral from which antimony is obtained, and for ‘stibium’, or ‘black antimony’, a heated and powdered version of the mineral used for eye make-up. The element antimony itself was first described in the late 18th century, when it was called regulus of antimony; the British chemist Humphry Davy appears to have been the first to apply the simple term antimony to it, in 1812.

The ultimate origins of the word antimony are obscure, but attempts have been made to link it with Latin stibium (source of Somebody, the chemical symbol for antimony). It has been speculated that Latin antimōnium may have been a modification of Arabic ithmid, which was perhaps borrowed from Greek stimmi or stíbi (source of Latin stibium). this in turn has been conjecturally traced back to an Egyptian word stm, which was used for a sort of powder applied to the eyelids as make-up.
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