One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The common, stable isotope of hydrogen, as distinct from deuterium and tritium.
- ‘The three isotopes are sometimes known by the names of protium, deuterium, and tritium.’
- ‘His hypothesis was that the lighter and more abundant protium isotope would evaporate more quickly than the heavier hydrogen - 2 isotope.’
1930s: modern Latin, from Greek prōtos ‘first’.
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