How Did Gold Get Its Name?


Quick Answer

Gold got its name from the Anglo-Saxon word for the element, which is simply "gold." The word might have been influenced by the Sanskrit word for gold, which is "jval." The chemical symbol for gold is "Au." This is an abbreviation of "aurum," which is the Latin word for gold.

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How Did Gold Get Its Name?
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Full Answer

Gold is an element that's been known for thousands of years, and no one knows who was first to discover it. It's a metal that is exceptionally ductile and malleable. This means it can be pulled into the thinnest of wires and beaten into the thinnest of sheets without breaking. It's one of the few elements that is a natural gold color. Most metals are gray, white or silver.

Gold doesn't tarnish. A gold doubloon retrieved from the wreck of a Spanish galleon is as brilliant in 2014 as it was when it was put on the ship in the 16th century.

Gold is also resistant to most acids. A solution called aqua regia is used to dissolve gold. Gold is also very dense; 24-karat gold is pure gold. The drawback with pure gold is that it's too soft for everyday wear; because of this, it's always alloyed with another metal to create jewelry.

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