1750-60; < GermanWolfram orig., wolframite, probably equivalent to Wolfwolf + -ram, representing Middle High Germanrām soot, dirt; formed on the model of personal names with initial Wolf-, as a contemptuous epithet for the mineral, which was considered worthless in comparison with tin ores, with which it is often found
1757, from Ger. Wolfram, wolform "iron tungstate" (1562), of obscure etymology. It looks like "wolf-cream" (from rahm "cream"), but the second element might be M.H.G. ram (Ger. Rahm) "dirty mark, soot;" if so, perhaps "so called in sign of contempt because it was regarded of lesser value than tin and caused a considerable loss of tin during the smelting process in the furnace" [Klein]. Or perhaps the word is originally a personal name, "wolf-raven."