One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A rare mineral of the tetragonal crystal system which consists of a carbonate and chloride of lead, Pb₂CO₃Cl₂, and occurs as colourless or pale yellow crystals, chiefly as a product of the weathering of lead ores.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in James Nicol (1810–1879), geologist. From phosgene (whose elements the mineral contains) + -ite, after German Phosgenit (A. Breithaupt Vollständiges Handb. der Mineral II. 183; compare earlier Phosgenspath in A. Breithaupt Characteristik des Mineral-Systems 14).
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