Have you ever wondered where the common terms used in electrolysis originated? These include cathode (37 Across), anode, electrode, cation and anion. Such terms are often coined by the scientist(s) responsible for the discovery or original work.
The term cathode, which dates from 1833, is credited to Michael Faraday (1791–1867), who was working on electricity and how it passes through a fluid (1 Down). However, the term was coined with the assistance or advice of his contemporaries. Cathode derives from the Greek kathodos, meaning ‘the way down’. The word electrode also has its roots in Greek, combining the word for amber (ēlektron and hodós, meaning ‘the way’ — i.e. the way that electricity would flow. Amber is an orange-coloured gemstone that can build up a static electric charge when rubbed.
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