Science, Tech, Math › Science Element Symbols List Abbreviations for the Chemical Elements Share Flipboard Email Print STEVE HORRELL/SPL/Getty Images Science Chemistry Periodic Table Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated June 27, 2019 It's easier to navigate the periodic table and write chemical equations and formulae once you know the symbols for the elements. However, sometimes it's easy to confuse symbols of elements with similar names. Other elements have symbols that don't seem to relate to their names at all! For these elements, the symbol usually refers to an older element name that isn't used anymore. History of the Abbreviations In fact, there are eleven of the abbreviations for the elements which don't seem to match the modern name. Those are subtle reminders of the history of the Periodic Table and the process of the discovery of elements over the millennia. Eight of these oddities are Au (gold), Ag (silver), Cu (copper), FE (iron), SN (tin), Pb (lead), Sb (antimony), and Hg (mercury): All were among the elements recognized by the ancient Greeks and Romans, and the abbreviations for those are based on a Latin or Greek term for the element. Potassium was identified during the Middle Ages, and it's "K" is for kalium, a medieval Latin term for potash. W stands for tungsten because it was first identified in 1780 within the mineral known as wolframite, by French scientist Antoine Lavoisier (1743–1794). And finally, sodium gets an Na because it was first isolated by the English chemist Humphry Davy (1778–1829) in 1807 and he was referring to natron, an Arabic word for the salt used by the Egyptians to mummify people. Element Symbols and Names Below is an alphabetical list of element symbols with the corresponding element name. Keep in mind that the names for the elements (and their symbols) may be different in languages other than English. Ac Actinium Ag Silver (argentum in Latin) Al Aluminum Am Americium Ar Argon As Arsenic At Astatine Au Gold (aurum in Latin) B Boron Ba Barium Be Beryllium Bh Bohrium Bi Bismuth Bk Berkelium Br Bromine C Carbon Ca Calcium Cd Cadmium Ce Cerium Cf Californium Cl Chlorine Cm Curium Cn Copernicium Co Cobalt Cr Chromium Cs Cesium Cu Copper (cuprum in Latin) Db Dubnium Ds Darmstadtium Dy Dysprosium Er Erbium Es Einsteinium Eu Europium F Fluorine Fe Iron (ferrum in Latin) Fl Flerovium Fm Fermium Fr Francium Ga Gallium Gd Gadolinium Ge Germanium H Hydrogen He Helium Hf Hafnium Hg Mercury (hydrargyrum in Greek) Ho Holmium Hs Hassium I Iodine In Indium Ir Iridium K Potassium (kalium in Medieval Latin) Kr Krypton La Lanthanum Li Lithium Lr Lawrencium Lu Lutetium Lv Livermorium Mc Moscovium Md Mendelevium Mg Magnesium Mn Manganese Mo Molybdenum Mt Meitnerium N Nitrogen Na Sodium (natrium in Latin, and natron in Arabic) Nb Niobium Nd Neodymium Ne Neon Nh Nihonium Ni Nickel No Nobelium Np Neptunium O Oxygen Og Oganesson Os Osmium P Phosphorus Pa Protactinium Pb Lead (plumbum in Latin) Pd Palladium Pm Promethium Po Polonium Pr Praseodymium Pt Platinum Pu Plutonium Ra Radium Rb Rubidium Re Rhenium Rf Rutherfordium Rg Roentgenium Rh Rhodium Rn Radon Ru Ruthenium S Sulfur Sb Antimony (stibium in Latin) Sc Scandium Se Selenium Sg Seaborgium Si Silicon Sm Samarium Sn Tin Sr Strontium Ta Tantalum Tb Terbium Tc Technetium Te Tellurium Th Thorium Ti Titanium Tl Thallium Tm Thulium Ts Tennnessine U Uranium V Vanadium W Tungsten (wolframite) Xe Xenon Y Yttrium Yb Ytterbium Zn Zinc Zr Zirconium Sources Rouvray, Dennis H. "Elements in the History of the Periodic Table." Endeavour 28.2 (2004): 69-74. Print.Scerri, Eric R. "The Evolution of the Periodic System." Scientific American 279.3 (1998): 78–83. ---. "The Periodic Table: Its Story and Significance." Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.Yeston, Jake, Nirja Desai, and Elbert Wang. "Setting the Table: A Brief Visual History of the Periodic Table." Science, 31 January 2019.