General Science


Origin & History of “cathode”

The term cathode, meaning ‘negative electrode’, appears to have been introduced by the English philosopher William Whewell around 1834. It was based on Greek káthodos ‘way down’, a compound formed from katá- ‘down’ and hodós ‘way’ (also represented in exodus ‘way out’ and odometer ‘instrument for measuring distance travelled’, and possibly related to Latin cēdere, source of English cede and a host of derived words). It specifically contrasts with anode, which means literally ‘way up’.