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How did sulfur get its name?

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Quick Answer

The name of the element sulfur is derived from the Latin word sulphurium and the Sanskrit word sulvere. Although humans have known of sulfur's existence since ancient times, it was not until around 1777 that the scientific community recognized it as an element. Because sulfur's origins date back to ancient times, it is not certain as to who named it or how it got its name.

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Full Answer

Sulfur is a brittle and odorless, dull yellow material that is a component of minerals such as cinnabar, stibnite, pyrite, galena, epsomite, barite and sphalerite. Most sulfur is retrieved from deposits underground, and it is mainly found with salt deposits. Sulfur is used to manufacture lead battery acids, fertilizers, dyeing agents and gunpowder. The element sulfur is assigned the atomic number 16, group number 16 and period number 3 on the periodic table of elements.

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