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spelling of barite

Posted by D.D. Trent  
D.D. Trent May 15, 2012 02:23AM
barite is spelled with an "i" not a "y" .
Alfredo Petrov May 15, 2012 02:26AM
D.D., Barite with an "i" is american english; baryte with a "y" is british english, and also the official variant.
Robert W. E. Neilson May 15, 2012 05:21AM
Alfredo is correct. Baryte is the historically correct spelling and still commonly used by by British collectors. Barite is the American spelling popularised and semi-validated by Dana, Fleischer et al.
My personal opinion is the American version is one of my pet hates. I believe the historical spelling is the correct one and not what American publications attempt to change it to, however influential they may be.
AJMI May 15, 2012 06:39AM
I think that the way you spell it (barite or baryte) really depends on which sources you consider to be "official".

Originally, the name was derived from the Greek word "barus" which means "heavy". (

From what I understand, the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA) spells it as "barite" and according to the barite/baryte Wiki, the "i" spelling is "more often used in modern scientific journals". For instance, the 2,681 scientific journals (such as Minerals Engineering, Mining Science and Technology, Geoscience Frontiers, Comptes Rendus Geoscience, Chemical Geology, International Journal of Mineral Processing, etc.) which are published by subsidiaries of the Netherlands-based Elsevier company spell it as "barite".

As well, popular magazines (such as Rock & Gem Magazine) and popular books (such as The Complete Guide to Rocks & Minerals) also spell it as "barite".

Likewise, numerous websites such as,,,,, (Mineral Information Institute), (Industrial Minerals Association), etc. and numerous dictionary sources (,,, etc.) also spell it as "barite" primarily - sometimes providing the alternative spelling of "baryte" as secondary.

Whereas fewer websites such as spell it primarily as "baryte". (A Google search for "barite" yielded 2,710,000 hits while a Google search for "baryte" yielded 462,000 - thus showing that the "i" spelling is used far more frequently online than the "y" spelling.)

Also, from 1959-1978 the International Mineralogical Association (IMA) spelled it as "barite" and then changed the spelling to "baryte" in 1978 - amid considerable controversy (many questioned the IMA's logic behind the change).

So if the IMA (or or other references are your preferred official source, or you're British/European, then spell it as "baryte". But if the MSA or one of the majority of other publications/websites/journals/etc. are your preferred official source, and you're American or Canadian, then spell it as "barite".

Either way, everyone who reads English will still likely know what mineral you're talking about. :c)
Alfredo Petrov May 15, 2012 07:10AM
Thanks, AJMI.
A flexible attitude solves many problems. Mental rigidity causes distress. :)-D
Alan Barnes (2) May 15, 2012 07:11AM
Just because something is common, doesn't mean that it is right. The "ite" suffix of mineral names is from the Greek word "lithos" meaning "stone" and on that part I can see why the American spelling might be deemed to be correct. However, I am with Robert on this one because the British spelling is historical and had been used for decades before the IMA and all the mineralogical journals were even thought of. Fleischer's Glossary and all other journals should revert to calling it "baryte" so that we can keep a bit of history alive. In response to AJMI's post though, what would be done with the spelling in Fleischer's Glossary - you couldn't have two spellings for one mineral?

Timothy Greenland May 15, 2012 07:24AM
Why not Alan?

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..." - Ralph Waldo Emerson...

Personally, I prefer Baryte (I learnt the Greek word as 'Baryos' not 'Barus', but transiteration between different alphabets always causes problems), but I use Barite when it is required by an editor or other responsible person. Its all BaSO4 anyway!


Rock Currier May 15, 2012 07:46AM
I spell it barite when I am pissed of at the Brits and the IMA. The rest of the time I spell it baryte.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Uwe Kolitsch May 15, 2012 08:03AM
Just wondering HOW often this will be discussed again...?

We already had the discussion 4 years ago and 1 year ago:,6,81454,81454#msg-81454,7,221690,221690#msg-221690
Alfredo Petrov May 15, 2012 08:17AM
Well, the first time, 4 years ago, it degenerated into a discussion of beer :-(
Rock Currier May 15, 2012 08:40AM
We will have this same discussion another 457 times.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph May 15, 2012 08:49AM
We never get the same argument over eudialyte/eudialite though!
George Eric Stanley Curtis May 15, 2012 08:54AM
Just to add to the conversation I noticed that particle physicists spell Baryon with a 'Y', and this is from the root -

The name "baryon" comes from the Greek word for "heavy" (βαρύς, barys), because, at the time of their naming, most known elementary particles had lower masses than the baryons. (Wiki)

So perhaps to be in keeping with the american way of spelling what is after all Greek, not English, we should ask the physicists to spell Baryon with an 'i' as in Barion.

Oh, and by the way, what colour/color is Barytes/Baryte/Barite ?

Personally I don't think it matters as long as we all understand what is meant. :)-D

Eric (or should that be Erik?)

United Kingdom, Cornwall
Charles Helm May 15, 2012 09:15AM
I just assumed that since Jolyon was British that this website referenced the British spelling. All the Barites in my collection have the Americanized spelling. If one day I am fortunate to add ones with lables using the British spelling I will leave the labels unmolested. I think the British spelling adds a certain mystic to an old friend. So here is my vote for a big who cares. To quote a famous Brit "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" . So let's start a thread on bad smelling minerals. Maybe we can all agree on that.... or maybe not.
George Eric Stanley Curtis May 15, 2012 09:42AM
To resolve all confusion see this site --

They seem to be the experts, and include Americans, - Quote -
The Barytes Association was formed in October 2000 with 8 founder members from Europe, North America, Africa and India.


United Kingdom, Cornwall
Dan Fountain May 15, 2012 12:14PM
Alfredo Petrov Wrote:
> Well, the first time, 4 years ago, it degenerated
> into a discussion of beer :-(

Degenerated? Elevated, you mean! :)-D

Since I live in the colonies, I spell it barite. If I move across the pond, I will change all my labels to baryte.
David K. Joyce May 15, 2012 01:09PM
A number of years ago, I wrote an article about the "Calcite Vein-Dykes" (not the vain dykes) of the Grenville Geological Province for publication in Rocks and Minerals magazine. I felt insulted at the time to have my "Canadian" English modified by the editors so as to fit the American Standards of the magazine. Thus, Dykes became Dikes, colour became color, etc. I got over it but still use my "Canadian English" spelling on my website and in any other writing where I can get away with it. Having said that, I have always spelled barite as barite without a qualm. It is all in our heads and reflects what we learned early on, I guess. Heck, We still call titanite "sphene" most of the time around these parts.

David K. Joyce
Steven Kittleson May 15, 2012 01:38PM

While we're at it, why do you "Brits" always have to substitute our Zs with your Ss...LOL? Here we go........

To absent memory...still bright.
Jim Ferraiolo May 15, 2012 02:51PM
Can't belyeve I actualli looked at thys thread....
Spencer Ivan Mather May 15, 2012 03:54PM
I'm English, and I spell it as Barite, because that is the way I learned it when I lived in Norway, but as long as people know what you are writing about it doesn't really matter if you write it Barytes or Barite it is all the same mineral!

Stephen Moreton May 15, 2012 05:08PM
I'm all for consistency and fonetik spelling, so I prefer barite. On this occasion I'm with the Americans.
Harjo Neutkens May 15, 2012 06:54PM
Seeing the word Baryte or Barite appearing on the messageboard makes me feel like a spermwhale about to crash into a planet "Oh no, not again!!"
Erik Vercammen May 15, 2012 07:13PM

Are you for 'consistency' or 'konsistensi'?
Paul Brandes May 16, 2012 12:29AM
All this discussion just because someone who isn't even a registered member of Mindat can't spell baryte correctly.
Maybe for the benefit of all mankind this thread should elevate itself to beer!! :-D
Alfredo Petrov May 16, 2012 12:41AM
Paul, I'll drink to that :)-D
Rock Currier May 16, 2012 12:55AM
Yes, bottoms up everyone! After a few more we just won't care anymore.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Steve Stuart May 16, 2012 02:00AM
Keith Wood May 16, 2012 02:24AM
We'll get our beer at the bar, right?
Rick Dalrymple May 16, 2012 03:45AM
I must admit, I like the historical way better. But I do find myself spelling it the Americanized way because that is how I learned to spell it originally.

I know I am in my own little world, but everyone knows me here.
Alfredo Petrov May 16, 2012 03:47AM
Poor Uwe. He must be tearing his hair out by now. ;-)
But, Keith, no more punishment please (even though I have to admit that was a good one). :-)
Don Windeler May 16, 2012 07:00AM
Thought I'd weigh in so as to have someone from the SF Bay write.

Sounds like there's a slight preference for the old school, English, conservative convention... so maybe we bear right.

Or all just follow the IMA, like sheep? Baaa... right?

(Sorry, couldn't resist. :-D)

Peter Lyckberg May 16, 2012 07:19AM
Everyone must of course spell it Baryt as we do in Sweden :)
And the element Al is Aluminium! Anyone writing Uranum instead of Uranium?

Before this degenerates to another Beer discussion you should know that Beer is öl in Swedish but do not tell this to ze Dzermans.
I sink wee also discussed Indigolite as in Indigo blue! We all lack some knowledge so we may zink it should be spelled differently.

It is not more correct because a majority do it! 2/3 of the human population will follow the crowd.
Peter Chin May 16, 2012 07:40AM
Wasn't this question resolved by the the Treaty of Paris (1783)?????
Athanasios Ziros May 16, 2012 01:26PM
Check this out

So, The greek word Βαρύτης becomes Varytis or Varyte

So lets discuss about the V issue :-)
Owen Lewis (2) May 16, 2012 01:58PM
Peter Chin Wrote:
> Wasn't this question resolved by the the Treaty of
> Paris (1783)?????

No, earlier that that. I believe it was one of the prime terms of the Peace of Westphalia that concluded the 30 Year's War and was directly responsible for the ruination of the thousand-year old Holy Roman Empire and the balkanisation of the German lands.

There's nothing new in the world. 250 years ago, Dean Swift wrote amusingly of scientist fighting bitterly over whether a boiled egg should be opened at the big end or at the little end. I'm a confirmed Little Endian myself. One's day is simply not the same without that delicious eggspoonful of perfectly formed solidified albumen that it the first joy of each day for us Little Endians. It is surely basic human right, assured in the USA with constitutional protection as the 'Pursuit of Happiness'...
Ian Jones May 16, 2012 02:09PM
In your hearts, you all know it's baryte really:)-D
David Von Bargen May 16, 2012 02:21PM
Actually heavy spar has precedence in naming (1774 vs 1800).
Dean Allum May 16, 2012 04:25PM
@ futur barite go 2 br8 lol
cu Al
Uwe Ludwig May 16, 2012 04:58PM
Hi Peter Lyckberg,

the Dzermans know that the "Bier" is called öl in Sweden. That is not wrong for us because a good beer (or öl) runs through the throat like "Öl" (German for oil).

Robert W. E. Neilson May 17, 2012 11:36AM
Instead of beer we could revive another hot potato...Haematite Vs Hematite.
Not only is the American variant of this a historical corruption but a complete linguistic corruption too. The Greek "haem" deriving from the word for blood as opposed to "hem" for half. Hence why I will continue to use the traditional spelling in the face of oppostion from all the major American publications.
Michael Hatskel May 17, 2012 01:40PM
Don't you all know that BaSO4 occurs in nature in two modifications - baright and bawrong? :-) (or is it barong? why bother with the "w"?! - it makes it sound like 'boron')

Historical names deserve respect and memory but aren't necessarily used forever. Modernization happens sometimes.
Why not settle on the knowledge that there are two different spellings that can be found in the literature and neither is superior to the other?

If we go back 150-200 years, there are so many nice names in the mineralogical literature ... and no sign of the modern craze with the multitude of phosphates, amphiboles, sulfosalts, complex alkaline silicates, etc. ... and not so much American influence in the English-language publications ... mostly the British ;-)
Those were the times! "Rule, Britannia! rule the pages!" But leave barite and aluminum alone, please...

P.S. And please don't force us in America to convert into using SI units either... :-D
Jolyon & Katya Ralph May 17, 2012 02:41PM
Well, thank you all for your opinions, but if you want to change the spelling of the mineral baryte, write to the IMA, not to mindat!

Rock Currier May 18, 2012 09:21AM
Yes, we can do that, but it is much more fun to torment baryte people here.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Peter Lyckberg July 03, 2012 11:53AM
Hämatit it is ; ) Much more practical to have a specific letter ä instead of ae or ö instead of oe and Uwe, I invite you for an öl in Munchen if we see each other!
Danny Jones July 03, 2012 05:46PM
Well now that we have solved the barite/baryte issue and are well on the way to solving the worlds problems with beer let's through into the beer mash my pet peeve with celestite/celestine..... No wonder the world can never be at peace if we can agree how to spell!

Danny Jones
Jesse Fisher July 03, 2012 07:10PM
I'm really not sure just why people feel compelled to waist their time (time and time again) arguing about trivial stuff like this. I think we all accept that commonly used names are spelled differently in different languages. I think most collectors will recognize that barite = baryte = barit = barytine. There are numerous other examples of how American English diverges from English English that rarely receive any comment at all, except from my spell-checker. Perhaps we can spend out time and energies worrying about bigger issues, such as the ever-increasing price of a pint of beer, or why the English national football team never seems to do very well.

And as an aside, "barytes" (pronounced "bear-rite-ease") is the term for commercial barite/baryte ore, analogous to the use of "fluorspar" to denote commercially mined fluorite.

Danny Jones July 06, 2012 05:11PM
Jesse - Now you have done it! "English National FOOTBALL Team"! I don't know what the English play but it is not Football!

Danny Jones
Rob Woodside July 06, 2012 06:17PM
Yes it looks nothing like real football, Canadian Football!!! In the US they play a modified version of Canadian Football. I think the English mean soccer or rugby when they talk of "football".:-S
Uwe Ludwig July 06, 2012 08:27PM
Danny and Rob please, let an European know why the North Americans name their game "football"? I watched one time such a game and realised that the most time the "subject" (is definitely not a ball) is carried by the hand.

And why allow the English to name our gentle and real football soccer?

Uwe Ludwig
Anonymous User July 09, 2012 12:52PM
As Google said both are correct :D
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