"alumin(i)um" (notes by Keith Ivey)(Word Origins)
This word is usually "aluminum" /@'lu:m@n@m/ in the U.S. and in Canada, and "aluminium" /,&lU'mInI@m/ in other English-speaking countries. People sometimes complain that the American form is inconsistent with other element names, which end in "-ium". But even in British spelling, there are elements that end in "-um" not preceded by "i": lanthanum, molybdenum, platinum, and tantalum (not to mention argentum, aurum, cuprum, ferrum, hydrargyrum, plumbum, and stannum; but then those aren't English names, just the names from which the symbols are derived). A widespread false belief among those who spell the word "aluminium" is that theirs is the original spelling, from which the American version is a later development, perhaps resulting from a typographical error. The CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (63rd ed., p. B-5) gives this bit of history: The ancient Greeks and Romans used alum in medicine as an astringent, and as a mordant in dyeing. In 1761 [Baron Louis- Bernard Guyton] de Morveau proposed the name alumine for the base in alum, and [Antoine] Lavoisier, in 1787, thought this to be the oxide of a still undiscovered metal. [...] In 1807, [Sir Humphrey] Davy proposed the name alumium for the metal, undiscovered at that time, and later agreed to change it to aluminum. Shortly thereafter, the name aluminium was adopted to conform with the "ium" ending of most elements, and this spelling is now in use elsewhere in the world. Aluminium was also the accepted spelling in the U.S. until 1925, at which time the American Chemical Society officially decided to use the name aluminum thereafter in their publications. I used to work for ACS, but I have no idea why they would have chosen "aluminum" over "aluminium", especially if "aluminium" was already established. _A Dictionary of American English on Historical Principles_ (University of Chicago Press, 1938, ISBN 0-226-11737-5) gives U.S. citations of "aluminum" from 1836, 1855, 1889 (two), and 1916, and says: "This form is in common use in mining, manufacturing, and the trade in the U.S.; the form _aluminium_ is used with practical uniformity in Great Britain and generally by chemists in the U.S." "Aluminium" is given as the only form by Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary; and as the preferred form by _The Century Dictionary_ (1889) and by the 9th and 11th editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The Britannica yearbook switched its index entry from "aluminium or aluminum" to "aluminum" in 1942.
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