The word electric was first used in 1626 by Sir Francis Bacon, and electricity was coined twenty years later by Sir Thomas Browne. Both of them used the terms to describe materials that attracted other objects, and both probably got the terms from English scientist William Gilbert's treatise De Magnete, which discussed in Latin how amber produces static electricity. The word he used was electricus, which was a new formation from Latin electrum, meaning "amber". That was borrowed from Ancient Greek elektron, also "amber", which, due to cognates in Sanskrit and elswhere, is probably Indo-European, although that's uncertain. Electron was coined in 1891, and then proton and neutron were created due to analogy with that. Those are just some descendants of many - and it was all due to the experiments outlined in a seventeenth-century paper.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a rising junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, and law.