One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(A) Any of various substances resembling lead, especially molybdenite (molybdenum disulphide). Now chiefly historical. (b) The metallic element molybdenum. Now chiefly historical.
Mid 17th century (in an earlier sense). From classical Latin molybdaena a kind of lead ore, also as the name of a plant from ancient Greek μολύβδαινα a kind of lead ore, angler's plummet from μόλυβδος lead + -αινα, suffix forming nouns.
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