One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The chemical element of atomic number 57, a silvery-white rare earth metal.
- ‘Samarium is a rare earth element, one of the elements that occupy the space in Row 6 of the periodic table between lanthanum and hafnium.’
- ‘It belongs to the family known as the lanthanides, named after the first member of that series, lanthanum.’
- ‘Oxalate efflux could not be triggered by treatment with the trivalent cation lanthanum or by phosphorus deficiency, indicating that the efflux was specific to the Al treatment.’
- ‘Its chemical properties are similar to those of lanthanum, the element above it in the periodic table.’
- ‘Green light is also emitted from some lanthanide elements: lanthanum, cerium, and terbium.’
Mid 19th century: from Greek lanthanein ‘escape notice’ (because it was long undetected in cerium oxide) + -um.
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