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"graphite," 1784, from Latin plumbago "a type of lead ore, black lead," from plumbum "lead" (see plumb (n.)); it renders Greek molybdaina, which was used of yellow lead oxide and also of a type of plant (leadwort). Attested in English in the yellow oxide sense from 1610s; as a type of plant from 1747. Related: Plumbaginous.