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Element Symbols


"The Atom"

Element Symbols - Unique 1,2, and 3 letter symbols
Every element in the Periodic Table has been given a unique 1, 2 or 3 letter symbol collectively called the Element Symbols. The first letter of an Element symbol is always a capital letter. Many of the element symbols are quickly remembered and recognised. These are the Element symbols that reflect the English name of the element such as O for Oxygen, H for hydrogen, C for carbon, N for nitrogen.

Any subsequent letters, which make up the Element symbols, are expressed in lower case, for example the chemical symbol for Argon is ĎArí and the symbol for Neon is 'Ne' which are even easier to remember. All of the names of the elements, together with their Element Symbols are detailed in alphabetical order in the table on the bottom of this page

Element Symbols - Recognising the Element Symbols
What are the element symbols used in the Periodic Table? How did the Element symbols originate and what are the background and the meaning of their names? In 1828 Jakob Berzelius developed a table of atomic weights & introduced letters to symbolize elements, called Element Symbols.

Element Symbols - The tricky symbols!
Some Element symbols come from their Greek, Latin or German names. Great if you know Latin, Greek or German but tricky if you do not! The name origins of many of the Element Symbols make them easier to learn and understand. The elements with Greek of Latin names are the oldest elements known and the element symbols were allocated when these classic languages were those used by ancient scholars. There are only 10 elements whose element symbols are not immediately apparent. Learn these and the Periodic table becomes easier!


The meanings and origins of the more obscure Element symbols are as follows:

  • Sb: Antimony : Sb - From the Greek words 'anti' and 'monos' meaning "opposed to solitude".

  • Cu: Copper : Cu - From the Latin word 'cyprium', after the island of Cyprus.

  • Au: Gold : Au - From the Latin word 'aurum' meaning gold.

  • Fe: Iron : Fe - From the Latin word 'ferrum' meaning iron.

  • Pb: Lead : Pb - From the Latin word 'plumbum' meaning lead.

  • Hg : Mercury: Hg - From the Greek word 'hydrargyros' meaning 'water' and 'silver'.

  • K: Potassium : K - From the Medieval Latin word 'kalium' meaning potash (pot ashes).

  • Ag: Silver: Ag - From the Latin word 'argentum' meaning silver

  • Sn: Tin : Sn - From the Latin word 'stannum' meaning tin

  • W: Tungsten:W - From the German word 'Wolfram'. Ancient alchemists called the metal "spuma lupi," the Latin words for  'wolf foam' which was translated to the word "wolframite" with reference to the unpleasant substance formed during the smelting of tin ores containing tungsten

Element Symbols
The following list provides the names of each of the elements in the Periodic Table together with their Element Symbols. Click on the link to an element to discover additional facts and information about the element and its symbols.

Alphabetical List of Element Symbols

Actinium: Ac
Aluminium: Al
Americium: Am
Antimony: Sb
Argon: Ar
Arsenic: As
Astatine: At
Barium: Ba
Berkelium: Bk 
Beryllium: Be
Bismuth: Bi
Bohrium: Bh
Boron: B
Bromine: Br
Cadmium: Cd
Cesium: Cs
Calcium: Ca
Californium: Cf
Carbon: C
Cerium: Ce
Chlorine: Cl
Chromium: Cr
Cobalt: Co
Copper: Cu
Curium: Cm 
Darmstadtium: Ds
Dubnium: Db
Dysprosium: Dy
Einsteinium: Es
Erbium: Er
Europium: Eu
Fermium: Fm
Fluorine: F
Francium: Fr
Gadolinium: Gd
Gallium: Ga
Germanium: Ge
Gold: Au
Hafnium: Hf
Hassium: Hs
Helium: He
Holmium: Ho
Hydrogen: H
Indium: In
Iodine: I
Iridium: Ir
Iron: Fe
Krypton: Kr
Lanthanum: La
Lawrencium: Lr
Lead: Pb
Lithium: Li
Lutetium: Lu 
Magnesium: Mg
Manganese: Mn
Meitnerium: Mt
Mendelevium: Md
Mercury: Hg
Molybdenum: Mo
Neodymium: Nd
Neon: Ne
Neptunium: Np
Nickel: Ni
Niobium: Nb
Nitrogen: N
Nobelium: No
Osmium: Os
Oxygen: O 
Palladium: Pd
Phosphorus: P
Platinum: Pt
Plutonium: Pu
Polonium: Po
Potassium: K 
Praseodymium: Pr
Promethium: Pm
Protactinium: Pa 
Radium: Ra 
Radon: Rn
Rhenium: Re
Rhodium: Rh
Roentgenium: Rg
Rubidium: Rb 
Ruthenium: Ru
Rutherfordium: Rf
Samarium: Sm 
Scandium: Sc
Seaborgium: Sg
Selenium: Se
Silicon: Si 
Silver: Ag
Sodium: Na 
Strontium: Sr
Sulfur: S
Tantalum: Ta
Technetium: Tc
Tellurium: Te
Terbium: Tb
Thallium: Tl
Thorium: Th
Thulium: Tm
Tin: Sn
Titanium: Ti
Tungsten: W
Ununbium: Uub
Ununhexium: Uuh
Ununoctium: Uuo
Ununpentium: Uup
Ununquadium: Uuq 
Ununseptium: Uus
Ununtrium: Uut
Uranium: U
Vanadium: V
Xenon: Xe 
Ytterbium: Yb
Yttrium: Y
Zinc: Zn
Zirconium: Zr

Element Symbols
The above list provides details of each of the elements in the Periodic Table together with their Element Symbols. Click on the link to an element to discover additional facts and information about the element. 

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