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Best and Worst mineral names
Posted by Jolyon & Katya Ralph
Jolyon & Katya Ralph December 21, 2010 08:22PMOk, to start the holiday spirit here on mindat.org, what are your most favourite and least favourite mineral NAMES.
Note, I'm not interested in favourite minerals or least favourite, just whether you like the names or not!
For me, my favourite used to be Hexatestibiopanickelite, which is a truly awesome name. Unfortunately it's no longer a valid mineral species, so I'll stick with my second favourite, the magical sounding Kosmochlor.
My least favourite has to be the recent name 'Eurekadumpite' Ugh.
Scott Sadlocha December 21, 2010 08:49PMWell, this topic will end up being a heck of a lot of fun!
Jolyon, I am with you on the Eurekadumpite.
I tend to not like mineral names with an entire person's name or a location in the name of the mineral. A first or last name, I can understand, but the entire thing just sounds silly to me. Nothing against the people who the minerals are named after, of course, I just think it sounds kind of corny to have something like "Johndoeite" rather than "Johnite". And if one of the person's names is already in use in a mineral, then it is time to come up with something better than the full name, while still sounding professional.
As far as favorites go, I am not sure, I would have to think about it a bit I guess. I have always liked mineral names that don't follow the "ite" naming convention, minerals such as cinnabar, copper, realgar, etc. Still, with regard to the "ites" I have always liked titanite (not sphene though).
I am sure there are quite a few others I can come up with.
David Bernstein December 21, 2010 09:39PMDon't really have a favorite name. My least favorite would be Cummingtonite. I always thought that name was a bit daft, even if it was discovered in Cummington, Massachusets.
The other least favorite is the name of a group of minerals-the Smectite group.
Jason Evans December 21, 2010 10:26PMFunny this thread should be started as a few days ago i was bored so started looking for funny mineral names, i found Eurakdumpite, which the childish side of me found rather funny! my dad has a mineral named after him, Howardevansite, well ok its named after some Dr Howard Evans of the USGS, but im still jealous that my dad gets a mineral with the same name as him, i'll have to make do with just Evansite.
Dean Allum December 21, 2010 11:27PMMy all time favorite mineral name is Zippeite!
Cylindrite is the most accurate mineral name.
Ramsdellite sounds like a goat's desert.
Cinnabar is where you go for cinnamon rolls.
Illite is almost a bar-code.
Alum-K reminds me of my aunt.
Maggie Wilson December 21, 2010 11:33PMNot a week goes by when I declare, "You are making that up!" when Reiner tells me of some mineral or other... my favourite so far is Hauchecornite - pronounced, perhaps erroneously in our household, not unlike "hoochie-coo"
My least favourite, because I trip over the spelling EVERY time is fluorororororichterite - See? (:P)
Peter Nancarrow December 22, 2010 12:00AMAmongst my favourites is moschellandsbergite; just something about the sound of it. Another is tobermorite; I know it's named after the town on Mull, but everytime I hear it I think of chocolate!
I like chemical mnemonics which sound pleasant e.g. bazirite and cavansite, but some just don't; e.g. nacaphite
My pet hates are those which sound as if they should be mnemonics but aren't; e.g. molybdomenite, phosgenite, zinkenite, which do not contain Mo, P, or Zn.
Steven Kuitems December 22, 2010 04:41AMRight now my least favorite species name is epidote-Pb because of the gross disrespect done to the time honored original name of hancockite. No new chemistry, no new stuctural basis, ignoring its consistent strontium content and ignoring the human history to honor Mr. E.P. Hancock.
My favorite is welshite which honors my mineral mentor Bill Welsh for whom I am grateful for his patience in teaching me about the joy of studying and collecting minerals as the gems of the creation around us.
Stephanie Martin December 22, 2010 05:38AMIt's tough to keep the list short... it's easy to pick on those unusual uncommon minerals, so I will stick to some that are more common
I always thought corundum was missing an i, it would sound much more robust as corundium
quartz, always so drab, needs another syllable too, like quartzon
aragonite - sounds pretty in Spanish but not so much in English
orpiment - that's what I just stepped in
Ones I like are vesuvianite, molybdenite, zircon, topaz, neptunite, uranium (almost anything with ium)
I won't mention the x-rated ones, trying to keep this a family show! lol
Hans Kloster December 22, 2010 07:47AMCarlsbergite is an advertisement for beer.
Potasium-ferrimagnesio-sodanagaite and similar are advertisement for chemicals.
Ellingsenite is the honour of the only member of Stonefriends in Copenhagen, who got the honour.
Neptunite in honour of the God of Sea.
Rick Turner December 22, 2010 10:57AMI would weigh in with 'asisite' as rating a chuckle, at least, but I have to explain why.
The name is (should be) pronounced ah-sees-ite
The explanation of the name that you can sometimes see in the the literature - that it is named after the local (Nama) word for watering place - is simply wrong, though understandably so. The Nama word for water is 'Ais' - as in the Ai-Ais canyon, meaning
Merry Christmas to all!
Gerhard Niklasch December 22, 2010 02:45PMMaggie Wilson Wrote:
> My least favourite, because I trip over the
> spelling EVERY time is fluorororororichterite -
> See? (:P)
Gee, that's definitely an advanced one.... I can't even spell Flourite! 8-)
No strong preferences on my part, but I have a soft spot for some of those old learnéd alternate names. "Vesuvianite" sure rolls off the tongue so smoothly, but it pales against a sharp-edged, well-terminated "Idokras!" - which sounds even more definite in its Græco-German form than "Idocrase".
Alex Homenuke December 22, 2010 03:52PMI love the simple names - gold, silver, platinum...$
Also widgiemoothalite (sp?) - the Aussies do have the catchy names
Edit - widgiemoolthalite - should have looked it up before posting
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/22/2010 03:56PM by Alex Homenuke.
John Magnasco December 22, 2010 08:55PMLike: Lizardite. Really a cool name in that the mineral is often found in chameleon-like colors of green, it is named after "The Lizard" peninsula in Cornwall and it is frequently a major constituent of Serpentine which was independently named, ironically, after a fellow reptile. Oh, and of course, Serpentine is still California's state rock.
Dislike: Chloro-potassic-ferri-magnesiotaramite and all of the others following this ridiculous naming convention. I want a NAME that I can call the mineral and then look up the formula and structure information when I need to.
Cheers from NorCal, John
"God gave me the stubbornness of a mule and a fairly keen scent." - Einstein
Alfredo Petrov December 22, 2010 09:34PMI really must thank John for bringing chloropotassicferrimagnesiotaramite to my attention. I love it! I used to think protomanganoferroanthophyllite was the longest species name, but chloropotassicferrimagnesiotaramite beats it. Well, the IMA is about to come out with a new amphibole naming scheme, so we'll see whether these names survive or not.
Rudy Bolona December 22, 2010 10:01PMSpeaking of mineral names; The other day I mailed a parcel to Norway with my usual selection of rare earth minerals I have collected in Colorado. I had to fill out a customs form. The postmaster asked me exactly what was in the box. I ranted off: SAMARSKITE, MONAZITE, AESCHYNITE, THORITE in a loud voice. She thought I was speaking Norwegian. Everyone at the post office gave me a weird look and one lady started laughing. It's funny, 99.99% of people out there have no clue that such things exist on Earth.X(
Walter Kellogg December 22, 2010 11:02PMFavorite - Cavansite - tells you what it's made of.
least favorite - Ferri-clinoferroholmquistite - come on, this is just too dang long - and on to top it off - the IMA approved the name it even though the mineral is only theoretical and has never actually been found to be naturally occuring.
Michael Adamowicz December 23, 2010 04:36AMHail
Most favorite is Uranothorite... it sounds tough. Just say it, doesn't it sound awesome>:D
Second choice is Uraninite. Just say it" I got a piece of Uraninite", now that gets peoples attention, then the worried looks all around:).
Third favorite is Aquamarine, it is a great name. You got to admit it, its a great name isn't it? Its a name that really bring an image to your mind. Most mineral names conjure little about how the mineral is to look, with Aquamarine you see what you expect, with a name like that.
Least favorite: Specularite. It sounds like they were not sure about the mineral when they named it. Annoying name. Really, really annoying.
Craig Mercer December 23, 2010 04:55AMNone that I really don't like, but I do like these few oldies, Wiluite...lol, makes me laugh every time. And Zippeite sounds like some sort of fast acting cleaning agent. Whewellite, that's the word commonly used to put a holt to digging for the day. And finally one I always thought was missing (Tonite) ;) A good fun thread Jolyon.
Greg Toomey December 23, 2010 05:48AMMy favorite? Azurite - descriptive and it flows off of the tongue like poetry (important as its meaning is very accurate and descriptive, and verbally
it is very pleasing to the senses, and a word is a "speech sound"). I do like Leaverite - but I strike it down for being a vernacular and unscientific word...but, dang, it is a great word!
My least favorite - Hemimorphite. Call it the politically correct American in me, but it sounds like a word an American wingnut politician would cite as an example of the degradation of Western Civilization, or, in American speak, "UnAmerican!!" I don't need that crap in my apolitical mineral world!
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/23/2010 05:58AM by Greg Toomey.
Ben Schumer December 23, 2010 06:46AMMy most favorite would have to be erdite; it just sounds pleasant.
Other favorites include cryolite and phosgenite because they sound tough and pitchblende (OK, it's a varietal...) and plumbotsumite because they roll off of the tongue well. The German designation "uranglimmer" (for autunite, torbernite, zeunerite, etc.) also sounds neat, like some kind of uranium disco.
Least favorite in order: tsnigriite, kinoshitalite, and walpurgite (it reminds me of the sound of a compressed air jet under water).
Robert Simonoff December 23, 2010 07:00AMFavorite: Mbobomkulite (and the type locality name is my favorite as well
Least Favorite: Any mineral starting with Arseno
The least favorite may seem dumb, but it is because so many people mispronounce Arseno as Arsenio, like it was names after a comedian or something. Arseniosiderite ... ugh!
Harjo Neutkens December 23, 2010 07:54AMI also like Apatite, makes me think about coming into a restaurant with a big Apatite; "O sir, you've got a big Apatite!".
Also Poppiite, isn't that what the Afghani grow on their fields?
Titanite too, as in "no, sorry honey, I only touch one tit-a-nite..."
Norman King December 25, 2010 12:37AMI guess this thread has died down. I've been too busy with other things to add my two cents worth, but things are calming down now--just a quiet Christmas eve for us.
I'd like to add my name to the list of those who are partial to eurekadumpite and cummingtonite. It seems people either love those or hate them.
Some of my favorite names I haven't seen mentioned are kobokoboite, fangite, hummerite, margaritasite, and mushistonite (you know--mushy-stone-ite).
Names that should be, but aren't, include one similar to leaverite called expensivite. But the "ought-to-be" name that is my favorite is (drum roll): favorite!
Once I looked up "brass" in mindat, and found this casual mineral name (look it up!): "brass balls." It is reported to be a synonym of pyrite, referring to nodular pyrite. Is someone pulling my leg?
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
Frank K. Mazdab December 23, 2013 07:42AMNot sure what my favorite is, although I enjoy the melodic way nordenskiödine rolls off the tongue. I also have a fondness for cesium-kupletskite... two "s/z" sounds in the prefix paired with two "k" sounds in the root, that when combined, has a sound that can be part of a mineralogist-clown's comedy routine (now I just have to wait until someone discovers "cesium-niobokupletskite", which has even more comedic sounds strung together).
I don't mind the sometimes long chemical-list type mineral names others here don't care for... to me they're unpretentious, saying what they mean and meaning what they say... take potassic-chloro-ferropargasite, for instance... with only knowledge of the periodic table and some Finnish geography, one instantly knows it has Cl, K, Fe2+ and the TL for the eponymous root is Pargas... no fuss, no muss, and wow, packed with so much info! And of course, I'm a fan of franckeite... this one should be obvious... :)
My least favorite are the 10% or 20% or so that I simply find unpronounceable. I realize that list is highly subjective, and likely a function of one's familiarity with the language the name was derived from. I'm also not a fan of false-friends that are similar enough in spelling or pronunciation that confusion can arise, like berthierine and berthierite, reinerite and renierite, or sericite and cerussite. As previously noted, minerals with the appearance of an element, when that element actually isn't present (in some attempted clever but ultimately confusing nod to a Greek or Latin root) I also consider unfortunate name choices.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/23/2013 07:55AM by Frank K. Mazdab.
Reiner Mielke December 23, 2013 02:12PMHello Norman,
"Once I looked up "brass" in mindat, and found this casual mineral name (look it up!): "brass balls." It is reported to be a synonym of pyrite, referring to nodular pyrite. Is someone pulling my leg? " No I think they are pulling on something else. LOL
Ed Clopton December 23, 2013 03:38PMMaggie Wilson, my wife regularly tells me I'm making things up when I mention obscure mineral species.
One of my favorites has always been strashimirite for its exoticness (exocitiy?), although (thank you Peter Nancarrow for reminding me) moschellandsbergite is hard to beat for euphoniousness.
There are lots of candidates for least favorite, but the adamite-eveite pair and scrutinyite have always struck me as particularly silly names.
The spell checker is having a grand time with this message--look at all the red squiggles!
Chester S. Lemanski, Jr. December 23, 2013 04:49PMEurekadumpite has to be the absolute worst terminology for a mineral species which can ever be considered, let alone actually be applied as a scientific name for a mineral. Motukoreaite is a close second.
The nicest mineral name, in my opinion, is Turquoise.
Thank goodness that there was never a new mineral species found in the boron mineralization in Sodom village, New York (lost serendibite locality). Paul Moore once quipped that if one were ever to be found, he would readily name it sodomite!
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/23/2013 04:51PM by Chester S. Lemanski, Jr..
Tom Tucker December 23, 2013 07:41PMSorry Chet, but I think eurekadumpite is a great species name. It presents an obvious and direct tie to the type locality.
Just taking the list of new species that Marco posted today, there are 33 new species and I'm heartened that the great majority of the new names being very acceptable. The exceptions, on my "really bad mineral names" list would be: ferro-ferri-nybøite, Hydroxycalciomicrolite, Chromo-alumino-povondraite, Caesiumpharmacosiderite. I understand the intent of this kind of nomenclature, but as an old chemist, I don't need these systematic chemical names for mineral species. We ought to be honoring people and places with our new species names.
By far, my favorite of the new names, bluelizardite. Of course the authors could have called it something like clinonatrohydro-something-or-the-other-uranyl -Cl, but fortunately they didn't. Nice job Joe Marty, et al. Other especially appropriate names: philrothite, marshallsussmanite, and most of the other couple of dozen new names.
Chris Rayburn December 24, 2013 01:09PMGlad to see this post revived--thank you Lucky_318.
At the risk of breaking the rules, I'll put a vote in for amethyst as my favorite. Not a mineral, technically, but one of the most beautiful words in the English language.
Least favorite: Pumpellyite. There's no good reason it should grate on me so much, but it does. Sounds like a soft tissue growth.
Happy holidays everyone!
Paul Brandes December 24, 2013 10:28PMTwo of my favourites had to be Tyuyamunite and Cuprosklodowskite for no other reason than this. In college a bunch of us studying for our mineralogy final decided it would be fun to try and say them five times really fast after a few adult libations, and if you messed up you had to......... well, I don't remember! :-D
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Copyright © mindat.org and the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy 1993-2018, except where stated. Mindat.org relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters.