In 1781, English astronomer William Herschel identified Uranus as being a planet and decided to name it George's Star, after King George III and to be confusing, I guess. Obviously, that wasn't very popular outside of Great Britain, so there were a lot of proposals for different names internationally, including Herschel's star, Neptune, and Planet Great Britain. Uranus was proposed by a German named Johann Bode to follow the Roman mythology theme of the other names, and that got a lot of support, especially after the element uranium was named in for the planet. Uranus is a Latinized form of the Greek god Ouranous, but that literally means "sky" or "heaven". Earlier on, that's from worsanos, which meant "to rain" and is related to hourein, "to urinate" (the etymon of urine). Finally, some linguists reconstruct it all to Proto-Indo-European wer, meaning "water".
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior 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, art history, and law.