Word Ways


Dan Tilque


When asked about the relationship between the chemical elements and placenames, those knowledgeable in etymology will point out the several elements that derive their names from those of cities or towns. Holmium is derived from Stockholm, Sweden; lutetium comes form Lutetia, the Roman name from Paris; berkelium from Berkeley, California; and strontium indirectly comes form Strontian, a village in Scotland. No less than four elements--erbium, ytterbium, and yttrium--are derived from Ytterby, a Swedish mining town.