Mercury was already known in the Antiquity by Chinese and in India. We can also find Mercury in Egyptian graves that date of around 1500 BC. Mercury is rather easily isolated from its ore, cinnabar (HgS), and was used in the Mediterranean world for extracting metals by amalgamation as early as 500 BC, possibly even earlier. The noun HYDRARGYRUM has 1 sense: 1. A heavy silvery toxic univalent and bivalent metallic element; the only metal that is liquid at ordinary temperatures Familiarity information: HYDRARGYRUM used as a noun is very rare. An alteration of the Classical Latin hydrargyrus (“quicksilver (artificially prepared)”), by analogy with the names of other metals, such as aurum (“gold”) and argentum (“silver”). 'Mercury, alias Quicksilver, alias Hydrargyrum, as a known neurotoxin, you are convicted of posing a danger to humanity,' the judge declared. Final verdict: a ban on the import or use of mercury in manufacturing goes into effect in Canada next year.
Hydrargyrum Atomic Mass
— GermanicKwik Afrikaans
Kwik, Kwiksulver Frisian (West)
Kwik, Kwikzilver† Dutch
Mercur Romanian - Moldovan
— SlavicЖивак [Živak] Bulgarian
Ртуць [rtuc'] Belarusian
Жива [Živa] Macedonian
Ртуть [Rtut'] Russian
Živo srebro Slovenian
Жива [Živa] Serbian
Ртуть [rtut'] Ukrainian
— CelticMerkur Breton
Mearcair Gaelic (Irish)
Mearcair Gaelic (Scottish)
Mercur Gaelic (Manx)
Arhans Bew Cornish
Ύδραργυρος [hydrargyros] Greek
Սնդիկ [sndik] Armenian
Mërkur[i], ²Zhiva Albanian
— Indo-Iranian/IranianZîbeq Kurdish
Джынасу [džynasu] Ossetian
Симоб [Simob] Tajik
পারদ (মৌল) [pārd (maula)] Bengali
جیوه [jywh] Persian
મર્ક્યુરી [markyurī] Gujarati
पारा [pārā] Hindi
Тюрк [Tyurk] Komi
Майдар [Majdar] Mari
Аериксия [aeriksija] Moksha
Ртуть [Rtut'] Chuvash
Сынап [synap] Kazakh
Сымап [Symap] Kyrgyz
Мөнгөн ус [möngön us] Mongolian
مېركۇرىي [merkuriy] Uyghur
Other (Europe)Merkurioa Basque
ვერცხლის წყალი [verc'xlis cqali] Georgian
زئبق [zi'baq, zā'ūq] Arabic
כספית [kaspit] Hebrew
Sino-TibetanKúng (汞) Hakka
水銀 [suigin] Japanese
수은 [su'eun] Korean
ปรอท [parot] Thai
Thuỷ ngân Vietnamese
汞 [gong3 / hung3] Chinese
Raksa, ²Merkuri Malay
Other Asiaticരസം (മൂലകം) [rasam (mūlakam)] Malayalam
பாதரசம் (தனிமம்) [pātaracam (taṉimam)] Tamil
Hidrajiri, ²Zaibaki Swahili
Yaku qullqi, ²Puriq qullqi Quechua
CreoleKwiki Sranan Tongo
New namesMercuron Atomic Elements
|Dense liquid metal which has a high surface tension and will form a yellow/green/deep-gray oxide|
melting point -39 °C; -38 °F
boiling point 357 °C; 674 °F
density 13.55 g/cc; 845.65 pounds/cubic foot
|Known to the ancients|
|ΰδραργυρος (hydrargyros) = liquid silver (Greek)|
Mercury after the planet Mercurius
|Sun (Sol)||Gold (Aurum)|
|Mercury (Mercurius)||Mercury (Hydrargyrum)|
|Moon (Luna)||Silver (Argentum)|
The long history of Mercury is reflected in the many different words for this metal. Many names are translations of 'liquid silver', many other languages use the alchemistic name derived from the planet Mercurius, but there are several other roots as well. See the list of names to the left and in the overview of Mercury in over 100 languages (click here).
- Greek: ΰδραργυρος [hydrargyros] from ΰδωρ [hydōr] = water, and αργυρος [argyros] = silver, was borrowed in Latin as hydrargyrum. The original Latin name was argentum vivum = living silver.
- Germanic languages: the first part 'quick, queck, kwik, etc.' = lively (Indo-European 'ğīv' = life), the second part is the native word for silver (the Dutch kwik is short for kwikzilver)
- Baltic languages: gyvas = alive (Indo-European 'ğīv' = life), and sidabras = silver.
- Japanese: The two Chinese characters are 水 sui = water and 銀 gin = silver.
MERCURY, our weather indicator metal,
(Quicksilver), in Latin, Hydrargyrum,
Has a blue silver-like hue, with splendid lustre;
'Tis the only metal known to be liquid
At common temperatures. When frozen,
At minus forty degrees Centigrade,
It is solid, crystalline, and mall'able.
- Mary Elvira Weeks, Discovery of the Elements, comp. rev. by Henry M. Leicester (Easton, Pa.: Journal of Chemical Education, 1968), pp. 46-51.
- Laszlo Takacs, 'Quicksilver from Cinnabar: The First Documented Mechanochemical Reaction?'. Journal of Metals, January 2000, p. 12-13. (on-line).
- The Geology of Quicksilver: The strange and hazardous element mercury is still of scientific interest. (on-line).
- James B. Calvert, 'Mercury' 2002 (on-line).
|Sources||Index of Persons||Index of Alleged Elements|