Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?
1812, coined by English chemist Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829), from alumina, name given 18c. to aluminum oxide, from Latin alumen "alum" (see alum). Davy originally called it alumium (1808), then amended this to aluminum, which remains the U.S. word, but British editors in 1812 further amended it to aluminium, the modern preferred British form, to better harmonize with other metallic element names (sodium, potassium, etc.).
Aluminium, for so we shall take the liberty of writing the word, in preference to aluminum, which has a less classical sound. ["Quarterly Review," 1812]
aluminum a·lu·mi·num (ə-lōō'mə-nəm)
A silvery-white, ductile metallic element, found chiefly in bauxite. A good conductor, it is used in light, corrosion-resistant alloys. Atomic number 13; atomic weight 26.98; melting point 660.3°C; boiling point 2,519°C; specific gravity 2.70; valence 3.
Symbol Al A lightweight, silvery-white metallic element that is ductile, is found chiefly in bauxite, and is a good conductor of electricity. It is the most abundant metal in the Earth's crust and is used to make a wide variety of products from soda cans to airplane components. Atomic number 13; atomic weight 26.98; melting point 660.2°C (1,220.36°F); boiling point 2,467°C; specific gravity 2.69; valence 3. See Periodic Table.