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Re: Where does the term "element" come from?

  • From: "W. E. Perry" <wperry@fiduciary.com>
  • To: "'xml-dev@lists.xml.org'" <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Date: Thu, 24 Dec 2009 08:49:10 -0500

Re:  Where does the term "element" come from?
This word has no provable etymology. We may reasonably impute from the history
of its use a basic meaning, as the OED puts it, 'a component unit of a series'.
There has been since Roman times the fanciful etymology that in the Phoenician,
Greek and Etruscan alphabets the longest run of letters common to all three is
the sequence L-M-N; that is, the largest component unit of the alphabetical
series is the L-M-N-tum, or 'elementum'.

Best wishes to all for the New Year.


"Costello, Roger L." wrote:

> Hi Folks,
> This is a book element:
>    <book>...</book>
> Why "element"?
> Who decided to call it element?
> When was the term first used?
> There is the Periodic Table of elements. Is that where the term comes from?
> In hindsight, is there a better term?

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