aluminum / aluminium

The preferred spelling of the name of the metal in the United States is aluminum. In Britain, the spelling is usually aluminium. Why the difference? And where did the extra i go (or come from)?

In the late 18th century, French chemists gave the name alumine, or alumina in Latin form, to the white ore we generally know as aluminum oxide today (Al2O3). The Latin form was quickly adopted into English. From Joseph Black’s c.1790 Elements of Chemistry:

The French chemists have given a new name to this pure earth; alumine in French, and alumina in Latin. I confess I do not like this alumina.1

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