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Element names and symbols

The name by which elements are known (ref. 1) is dependent upon language and indeed upon language variants. See below for differences in names used for English and American variants of English. The origins of the names of the elements are given in refs. 2 and 3. Temporary IUPAC systematic names for elements with atomic numbers greater than 118 are given in ref. 5.

WebElements element home pages give the names of the elements in:




The names of elements and their symbols are approved by IUPAC. Its recommendations are published in the journal Pure and Applied Chemistry and sometimes books (ref. 1). There are differences in spelling between a few English and American names (see Table). Those in bold type represent the IUPAC names but, not surprisingly, each country prefers its own spelling, because in each case they are part of the respective English language variant (IUPAC does not seem to recognise all these variants).

English and American spellings

Literature sources

  1. International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry: Commission on the Nomeclature of Inorganic Chemistry, Nomenclature of Inorganic Chemistry Recommendations 2005, Eds. N.G. Connelly, T. Damhus, R.M. Hartshorn, and A.T. Hutton, Royal Sociery of Chemistry, 2005. ISBN-13: 978-0854044382.
  2. D.W. Ball, J. Chem. Ed., 1985, 62, 787.
  3. J.G. Stark and H.G. Wallace, J. Chem. Ed., 1970, 47, 152.
  4. Pure Appl. Chem., 1997, 69, 2471.
  5. Pure Appl. Chem., 1979, 51, 381.
  6. Pure Appl. Chem., 1994, 66, 2419.
  7. Chemistry in Britain, 1994, 30, 889.
  8. Chemistry in Britain, 1995, 31, 100.