One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A pale yellow or greenish crystalline clay mineral, Na₀.₃₃Fe₂ 3+(Si,Al)₄O₁₀(OH)₂, belonging to the smectite or montmorillonite group and sometimes resembling opal.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Charles Shepard (1804–1886). From French nontronite from Nontron, the name of the town in Dordogne, France, where the mineral was first found + -ite.
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