Chemical symbol facts for kids

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Atomic Symbol
This is an example of an atomic symbol. The text boxes explain where the numbers are derived from.

A chemical symbol is the shortform of the name of an element. Usually, it is made up of one or two letters, but sometimes it is made up of three letters.

The chemical symbols of all elements are listed in the periodic table. They are also used while writing chemical equations.

For example: C + O2 → CO2

Here C stands for carbon and O stands for oxygen.

Some chemical symbols are the short forms of their English names. For example, H is the chemical symbol of hydrogen.

Some other chemical symbols are the short forms of their Latin names. For example, Na is the chemical symbol of sodium which is called 'Natrium' in Latin.

Other examples: Iron - Fe - Ferrous

Symbols for chemical elements

{{#section:List of chemical elements|table}} Antimatter atoms are denoted by a bar above the symbol for their matter counterpart, so e.g. H is the symbol for antihydrogen.

Symbols and names not currently used

The following is a list of symbols and names formerly used or suggested for elements, including symbols for placeholder names and names given by discredited claimants for discovery.

Chemical symbol Name Atomic number Origin of symbol Why not used Refs
A Argon 18 A used for Argon until 1957. Current symbol is Ar.
Ab Alabamine 85 Discredited claim to discovery of astatine.
Ad Aldebaranium 70 Former name for ytterbium.
Am Alabamium 85 Discredited claim to discovery of astatine. The symbol is now used for americium.
An Athenium 99 Proposed name for einsteinium.
Ao Ausonium 93 Discredited claim to discovery of neptunium.
Az Azote 7 Former name for nitrogen.
Bo Boron 5 Current symbol is B.
Bv Brevium 91 Former name for protactinium.
Bz Berzelium Baskerville wrongly believed berzelium to be a new element. Was actually thorium.
Cb Columbium 41 Former name for niobium.
Ch Chromium 24 Current symbol is Cr.
Cl Columbium 41 Former name for niobium. The symbol is now used for chlorine.
Cn Carolinium Baskerville wrongly believed carolinium to be a new element. Was actually thorium. The symbol is now used for copernicium.
Cp Cassiopeium 71 Former name for lutetium.
Cp Copernicium 112 Current symbol is Cn.
Ct Celtium 72 Discredited claim to discovery of hafnium.
Ct Centurium 100 Proposed name for fermium.
D Didymium Mixture of the elements praseodymium and neodymium. Mosander wrongly believed didymium to be an element.
Da Davyum 43 Discredited claim to discovery of technetium.
Db Dubnium 104 Proposed name for rutherfordium. The symbol and name were instead used for element 105.
Di Didymium Mixture of the elements praseodymium and neodymium. Mosander wrongly believed didymium to be an element.
Ds Dysprosium 66 Current symbol is Dy. The symbol is now used for darmstadtium.
E Einsteinium 99 Current symbol is Es.
E Erbium 68 Current symbol is Er.
Ea Ekaaluminium 31 Name given by Mendeleev to an as of then undiscovered element. When discovered, gallium closely matched the prediction.
Eb Ekaboron 21 Name given by Mendeleev to an as of then undiscovered element. When discovered, scandium closely matched the prediction.
El Ekaaluminium 31 Name given by Mendeleev to an as of then undiscovered element. When discovered, gallium closely matched the prediction.
Em Ekamanganese 43 Name given by Mendeleev to an as of then undiscovered element. When discovered, technetium closely matched the prediction.
Em Emanation 86 Also called "radium emanation", the name was originally given by Friedrich Ernst Dorn in 1900. In 1923, this element officially became radon (the name given at one time to 222Rn, an isotope identified in the decay chain of radium).
Em Emanium 89 Alternate name formerly proposed for actinium.
Es Ekasilicon 32 Name given by Mendeleev to an as of then undiscovered element. When discovered, germanium closely matched the prediction. The symbol is now used for einsteinium.
Es Esperium 94 Discredited claim to discovery of plutonium. The symbol is now used for einsteinium.
Fa Francium 87 Current symbol is Fr.
Fl Florentium 61 Discredited claim to discovery of promethium. The symbol is now used for flerovium.
Fl Fluorine 9 Current symbol is F. The symbol is now used for flerovium.
Fr Florentium 61 Discredited claim to discovery of promethium. The symbol is now used for francium.
G Glucinium 4 Former name for beryllium.
Gl Glucinium 4 Former name for beryllium.
Ha Hahnium 105 Proposed name for dubnium.
Hn Hahnium 108 Proposed name for hassium.
Hv Helvetium 85 Discredited claim to discovery of astatine.
Hy Mercury 80 Hy from the Greek hydrargyrum for "liquid silver". Current symbol is Hg.
I Iridium 77 Current symbol is Ir. The symbol is now used for iodine.
Il Illinium 61 Discredited claim to discovery of promethium.
J Jodium 53 Former name for iodine.
Jg Jargonium 72 Discredited claim to discovery of hafnium.
Jl Joliotium 105 Proposed name for dubnium.
Ka Potassium 19 Current symbol is K.
Ku Kurchatovium 104 Proposed name for rutherfordium.
L Lithium 3 Current symbol is Li.
Lw Lawrencium 103 Current symbol is Lr.
M Muriaticum 17 Former name for chlorine.
Ma Manganese 25 Current symbol is Mn.
Ma Masurium 43 Disputed claim to discovery of technetium.
Md Mendelevium 97 Proposed name for berkelium. The symbol and name were later used for element 101.
Ml Moldavium 87 Discredited claim to discovery of francium.
Ms Magnesium 12 Current symbol is Mg.
Ms Masrium 88 Discredited claim of discovery of radium.
Ms Masurium 43 Disputed claim to discovery of technetium.
Mv Mendelevium 101 Current symbol is Md.
Ng Norwegium 72 Discredited claim to discovery of hafnium.
No Norium 72 Discredited claim to discovery of hafnium. The symbol is now used for nobelium.
Np Nipponium 43 Discredited claim to discovery of technetium. The symbol is now used for neptunium.
Ns Nielsbohrium 105 Proposed name for dubnium.
Ns Nielsbohrium 107 Proposed name for bohrium.
Nt Niton 86 Former name for radon.
Ny Neoytterbium 70 Former name for ytterbium.
P Lead 82 Current symbol is Pb. The symbol is now used for phosphorus.
Pa Palladium 46 Current symbol is Pd. The symbol is now used for protactinium.
Pe Pelopium 41 Former name for niobium.
Pl Palladium 46 Current symbol is Pd.
Po Potassium 19 Current symbol is K. The symbol is now used for polonium.
R Rhodium 45 Current symbol is Rh.
Rd Radium 88 Current symbol is Ra.
Rf Rutherfordium 106 Proposed name for seaborgium. The symbol and name were instead used for element 104.
Ro Rhodium 45 Current symbol is Rh.
Sa Samarium 62 Current symbol is Sm.
So Sodium 11 Current symbol is Na.
St Antimony 51 Current symbol is Sb.
St Tin 50 Current symbol is Sn.
Tn Tungsten 74 Current symbol is W.
Tr Terbium 65 Current symbol is Tb.
Tu Thulium 69 Current symbol is Tm.
Tu Tungsten 74 Current symbol is W.
Unb Unnilbium 102 Temporary name given to nobelium until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Une Unnilennium 109 Temporary name given to meitnerium until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Unh Unnilhexium 106 Temporary name given to seaborgium until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Uno Unniloctium 108 Temporary name given to hassium until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Unp Unnilpentium 105 Temporary name given to dubnium until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Unq Unnilquadium 104 Temporary name given to rutherfordium until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Uns Unnilseptium 107 Temporary name given to bohrium until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Unt Unniltrium 103 Temporary name given to lawrencium until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Unu Unnilunium 101 Temporary name given to mendelevium until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Uub Ununbium 112 Temporary name given to copernicium until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Uuh Ununhexium 116 Temporary name given to livermorium until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Uun Ununnilium 110 Temporary name given to darmstadtium until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Uuo Ununoctium 118 Temporary name given to oganesson until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Uup Ununpentium 115 Temporary name given to moscovium until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Uuq Ununquadium 114 Temporary name given to flerovium until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Uus Ununseptium 117 Temporary name given to tennessine until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Uut Ununtrium 113 Temporary name given to nihonium until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Uuu Unununium 111 Temporary name given to roentgenium until it was permanently named by IUPAC.
Ur Uranium 92 Current symbol is U.
Vi Virginium 87 Discredited claim to discovery of francium.
Vm Virginium 87 Discredited claim to discovery of francium.
Va Vanadium 23 Current symbol is V.
Wo Tungsten 74 Current symbol is W.
X Xenon 54 Current symbol is Xe.
Yt Yttrium 39 Current symbol is Y.

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