Q:

How did iron get its name?

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Quick Answer

The name for the element iron comes from the same Anglo-Saxon word, iron or iren, although it is thought that this word comes from the earlier Celtic word îsarno. Some scholars suggest that this Celtic word comes from an even older Indo-European word for metal, ayos or ayes.

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Full Answer

Although the element is referred to as iron in English, its chemical symbol, Fe, refers to the original Latin name for the element: ferrum. Ferrum is the root word for iron in most of the Romance languages, including French, Spanish and Italian.

Iron is the 26th element on the periodic table and has an atomic weight of 55.845. It is the cheapest of all the metals and also one of the most abundant. Iron composes nearly 6 percent of the Earth's crust, while the core of the Earth is almost entirely made up of this one element.

It is not known when man first discovered iron, as it has been around for at least 5,000 years; with iron artifacts having been found dating as far back as 3,000 B.C. In fact, the Bible even mentions a man, Lamech, who lived only seven generations after Adam and Eve as being a master of iron and brass.

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