One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: the anion SiO₃ 2−; a salt or mineral containing this. Later: any compound or mineral having cyclic or very long chain anions of formula (SiO₃ 2−)ₙ.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in William Odling (1829–1921), chemist. From meta- + silicate.
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