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heaviest gaseous element, 1918, from German Radon, from radium (q.v.) + -on suffix of inert gases. The element was identified in radioactive decay of radium. Alternative name niton (from Latin nitens "shining") gained currency in France and Germany.
radon ra·don (rā'dŏn)
A radioactive, largely inert gaseous element formed by the radioactive decay of radium and used as a radiation source in radiotherapy and research; its most stable isotope is Rn 222 with a half-life of 3.82 days. Atomic number 86; melting point -71°C; boiling point -61.7°C; specific gravity (solid) 4.
A colorless, odorless, radioactive element in the noble gas group. It is produced by the radioactive decay of radium and occurs in minute amounts in soil, rocks, and the air near the ground. Radon is used as a source of radiation for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. Its most stable isotope is Rn 222 with a half-life of 3.82 days. Atomic number 86; melting point -71°C; boiling point -61.8°C; specific gravity (solid) 4. See Periodic Table.