One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of a group of minerals related to apatite, containing rare-earth elements (especially cerium) and typically occurring as pale yellow to dark brown or black masses of prismatic crystals. Now frequently with a suffix indicating the predominant rare-earth element.
Late 19th century. From ancient Greek βρῖθος weight (from βρίθειν to be heavy, of uncertain origin, perhaps ultimately from the same Indo-European base as Early Irish bríg strength, power) + -o- + -lite.
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