Linguist Rob Watts of RobWords looks at the etymological origins of the more popular elements from the periodic table, noting how the names originate from various sources, including different languages, geographical locations, mythology, and unique characteristics.
Where do our words for the chemical elements come from? The answers are certain to surprise you
Included in this list are Hydrogen, Oxygen, Gold, Silver, and Mercury. While he was at it, he also looked at the difference between “aluminum” and “aluminium”, determining that both are correct.
Now, I’ve always called it Aluminium, but it also gets called Aluminum. You want me to tell you which is right, don’t you? If only it were so… elementary. So Aluminium is recorded first as the name for the element you get from alumina. That was in 1811. But then Aluminum is seen being used in 1812. So neither one of them is the long-established term, and the other an abominable mispronunciation. They’re both good.