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Questions about the word "pnictogens"[edit]


How is this word pronounced? Is the "p" silent, or not? RobertAustin (talk) 16:42, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

The p is pronounced. I would put a pronunciation key into the article, but I'm not very confident in my IPA. :-) --Steve (talk) 19:02, 4 February 2010 (UTC)


  • I know that "gen" means "former," so what does the word "pnictogens" mean?Wd930Bot (talk) 03:45, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Greek πνίγω = "I choke, I suffocate" (transitive). Anthony Appleyard (talk) 09:35, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
  • The verb means "choke," but it is not nitrogen gas that chokes. The atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, and none of us are choking. Rather ammonia (NH3) and organic amines irritate tissues and "catch" the breath. Also AsH3 and SbH3. An organic arsenic compound is called cacodyl ("harsh"), reminiscent of cacophony. (talk) 17:31, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
  • The "pnictogen means choking" mantra appears three times in this lemma. (talk) 21:52, 17 March 2016 (UTC)

Color for pnictogens[edit]

I have come up with a color for the pnictogens.


Requested move 1[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: not moved. No consensus that the proposed title is the common name or the most recognisable one (even to experts). Quite a few comments have noted that they feel recognisability is more important than consistency with related articles in this case and this has not been adequately refuted so as to outweigh the majority who do not feel it should be moved. (non-admin closure) Jenks24 (talk) 06:01, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Nitrogen groupPnictogen – For consistency with Chalcogen, so that this article also has the group's trivial name as its title. Double sharp (talk) 07:28, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Comment -- When I did na chemistry degree nearly 40 years ago, I do not recall the target term (or Chalcogen) being used, though halogen and halides were common terms. If this goes ahead, the redirect must be retained. Peterkingiron (talk) 15:46, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Move, keeping redirect per Peterkingiron. StringTheory11 19:27, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose – Consistency should not trump recognizability. Dicklyon (talk) 04:55, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - "Pnictogen" is only recognizable for experts, not anyone familiar with this topic. "Nitrogen Group" is much more commonly used in a search at, and at least this source indicates Pnictogen is an outdated term. --Born2cycle (talk) 05:31, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment - It is a bit strange to see Group 15 referred to as the "Pnictogens" in {{PeriodicTablesFooter}}, but the title of the article on Group 15 is "Nitrogen group". Double sharp (talk) 08:05, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I have a PhD in chemistry and I don't recall having seen the term "pnictogens" used for the nitrogen group, so I do not consider this name as necessarily recognisable even to those familiar with chemistry. I am familiar with "chalcogens" for the oxygen group - though it is not as commonly used as halogens for the fluorine group - and I can see an argument for either name in the chalcogen case, but I think trying to extend that logic to the nitrogen group as pnictogens is extending the argument to an obscure term. There is a redirect from pnictogens for those familiar with the term. Noting that the pnictogen page averages about 15 views per day and the nitrogen group page averages over 150 views per day it seems clear to me which term is more familiar to our readers. EdChem (talk) 11:07, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment - IUPAC approves "pnictogens" [1] (page 8) [2] (page 63), along with "chalcogens" and "halogens". The latter gives "pnictide", "chalcogenide", "halogenide" and "halide" as "commonly used" and gives "pnicogen" as an alternative spelling. We might want to follow IUPAC in this. As long as "nitrogen group" redirects to "pnictogen", everybody would still end up at the correct article. Double sharp (talk) 07:36, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Per EdChem.TCO (Reviews needed) 08:04, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This is an exceedingly obscure term, better known among historians and nomenclature mavens than among practicing chemists. If consistency is what we wanted, I'd rather rename this article to Group 15 element. --Itub (talk) 19:27, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
I prefer Nitrogen group. Group 15 is also a head scratcher.TCO (Reviews needed) 19:35, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Move it . For professional chemists in the area, pnictnogen is the operative term (although I can never remember how to spell it). The title of this article is another result of who "got there first" in Wikipedia, to our continuing slight embarrassment. The well-intentioned editor who started this article has little track record in Wiki-chem (see [[3]]). A case of the blind leading the something... Here is a useful reference: Gregory S. Girolami
"Origin of the Terms Pnictogen and Pnictide" J. Chem. Educ., 2009, 86 (10), p 1200. doi:10.1021/ed086p1200.--Smokefoot (talk) 20:08, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps that's a good example of why the naming guidline at WP:AT says "Is the candidate title a recognizable name or description of the topic?", not "Is the candidate title a recognizable name or description of the topic to someone familiar with (though not necessarily expert in) the topic?". By interpreting familiarity as broadly as possible, we make the title more meaningful to more people. See evidence of usage in books. Dicklyon (talk) 22:38, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
LIke I said, Wikipedia naming is dominated by "who got there first" and then perceptions of accessibility trumps technical terms (which is supposedly the point that redirects address). The editors that guided the naming have little track record in editing chemistry articles and probably never work with the pnictnogens. This is yet another case of inexperienced do-gooders slightly dumbing down things based on the fact that "they have never heard of ...", in my opinion, but this naming is no big deal because redirects run both ways.--Smokefoot (talk) 14:05, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment I am a university lecturer in chemistry. I hear the term chalcogen quite frequently, but pnictogen only very rarely. In the three first year textbooks on my shelf: one mentions both pnictogen and chalcogen, one mentions chalcogen (not pnictogen) but primarily uses "group XX elements", and the third uses the terms "nitrogen family" and "oxygen family". Personally, I'd prefer if chemistry dispensed with arcane names, because they only really serve to add an extra hurdle for students to jump. --99of9 (talk) 23:03, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose: recognisability is more important. Tony (talk) 00:43, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Requested move 2[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was moved. --BDD (talk) 17:06, 29 October 2012 (UTC) (non-admin closure)

Nitrogen groupPnictogen – The term "pnictogen" is widely used among workers in the field: Double sharp (talk) 03:38, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

the terms "pnictogen" and "pnictide" appear in over 300 papers per year (ref). The Red Book 2005 (from IUPAC) states that "If appropriate for a particular purpose, the various groups may be named from the first element in each, for example elements of the boron group (B, Al, Ga, In, Tl), elements of the titanium group (Ti, Zr, Hf, Rf), etc. The following collective names for like elements are IUPAC-approved: alkali metals (...), alkaline earth metals (...), pnictogens (N, P, As, Sb, Bi), chalcogens (O, S, Se, Te, Po), halogens (...), noble gases (...), lanthanoids (...), rare earth metals (Sc, Y and the lanthanoids) and actinoids (...).", indicating that naming by the first element (e.g. nitrogen group) is only for special situations and that pnictogens should be used for general purposes and IUPAC-approved. Using "pnictogens" instead of "nitrogen group" makes it easier to talk about a specific element from the group, which is necessary in the article: it can be simply referred to as a "pnictogen", rather than as a "nitrogen group element". However, if the article is titled "nitrogen group", then it looks strange and inconsistent if "pnictogen" is used very often. The boron and carbon groups don't have similar IUPAC-approved (or even commonly used) names, so this problem is unavoidable for them (the groups in the transition metals also cannot avoid this problem), but in case of the pnictogens/nitrogen group, there is a good, IUPAC-approved and commonly used (in the field, at least) term to use that makes it easier to write the article. (See WT:ELEM#Pnictogen vs. Nitrogen group.) Although the Nitrogen group page is viewed about eight and a half times more often than the Pnictogen page, this could easily be because this article is predominantly linked to through the Nitrogen group name (e.g. {{Periodic tables footer}}. Of course, the redirect from Nitrogen group should be maintained, just as oxygen group redirects to chalcogen, and fluorine group redirects to halogen. Double sharp (talk) 03:38, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

  • Support per nom. StringTheory11 (tc) 03:43, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Support. The operative term is pnictogen. My guess is that one could not publish a paper with the title "Study of Nitrogen group compounds ...". Readers and editors would not what you are talking about - some sort of functional group thing? The well intentioned voices opposed probably just dont work in this area and find the name a tongue twister. My two cents.--Smokefoot (talk) 13:05, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Support. The UIPAC is clear about the naming. On popularity and actual usage in the field, as an argument, I have no opinion. -DePiep (talk) 15:19, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Support. It's either "Group V" (A or B, if you must) or Group 15 - or if you wanna use a trivial name, the Pnictogens. Calling it "the nitrogen group" is ahine.--feline1 (talk) 20:41, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose – It failed recognizability less than a year ago (see discussion immediately above), and still does. Dicklyon (talk) 03:19, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
    • Many of our readers probably get to this article through the links in {{Periodic tables footer}} instead of typing the article name in the search box, as many pages have that navbox as a footer, so the nitrogen group page will obviously be viewed more often. However, even with this factor reducing the number of views for the pnictogen page, pnictogen has gotten 519 views so far this month, while nitrogen group has gotten 4611 views so far this month, a difference of a factor of about 9. This is much less clear than the situation for chalcogen, which is at its official IUPAC name: oxygen group has gotten 136 views so far this month, while the chalcogen article has gotten 9192 views this month, a difference of a factor of almost 68. Even though the Google Ngram showing usage in books quoted by Dicklyon last year shows "nitrogen group" to be more popular than "pnictogen" most of the time, it's not reasonable to expect "pnictogen" to be used before 1950, since the term was only suggested in the early 1950s. Also note that the term was "banned" (i.e. not approved) by IUPAC for 35 years, and the term "pnictogen" starts climbing in use at around 1980. The difference is now quite small (although neither term seems to be widely used). For comparison, here are the Google Ngrams over the same time period for chalcogen (suggested in the 1930s) and halogen (suggested in the 1840s, but earlier used as a name for chlorine). For the non-official trivial names, like icosagen for the boron group (mentioned in Greenwood & Earnshaw) and crystallogen for the carbon group, the naming by first element is used universally. (Other names like "group V", "group VA", "group VB", and "group 15", are not included because they add a lot of false positives.) Double sharp (talk) 07:57, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose per #Requested move 1 ; if anything, it should be called Periodic table group V. As stated in our article, it is still used, and WP:JARGON our readership is a general readership form all fields, not a specialized readership. Particularly our article even states that some fields still use "Group V", so the proposed jargon title would be unrecognizable to a significant portion of the practitioners who use this grouping. -- (talk) 05:59, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
    • Any your last chemical edit was ....? --Smokefoot (talk) 12:21, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
    • So would "nitrogen group" or even "group 15" (the official IUPAC name). "Group V" is really not a good title because (1) it really should be VA or VB, to be more specific, and (2) there are two numbering systems that assign both symbols to two different groups (the pnictogens and the vanadium group). However, "pnictogens" is an official name, unlike "nitrogen group", and it can only refer to this particular group of elements. Double sharp (talk) 10:46, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
    • This is the kind of topic that gets editors anxious (see previous debate), and any result of this debate will not bother me. The catch is that higher level chemists (sounds snobbish) just would not refer to group V much. My guess (and practice on a limited basis) is that when one did, the term pnictogen would be used often. The present article on Group V is kind of an artifact of Wikipedia being edited by smart kids who don't work in the real world. Chemists just don't lump N with P, their behavior is too different. We lump P with As, Sb, Bi. Its not a big deal to me and I apologize for sounding elitist. Its just my opinion. And I understand the tendency to demystify and dejargonize the area to appeal to non-specialists. --Smokefoot (talk) 13:19, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Support IUPAC (official entity for naming such things) supports the pnictogen name. Nergaal (talk) 22:34, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Major error in deadly dose for arsenic?[edit]

The article (currently) says: "The lethal does of arsenic for a typical adult is 200 grams, and can cause diarrhea, vomiting, colic, dehydration, and coma. Death from arsenic poisoning typically occurs within a day."

I don't know the exact lethal dose for arsenic, but it's for sure to be expressed in milligrams. Probably it should be 200 milligrams. I read an on-line paper (don't remember the source, I will post it when I cross it again sometime) about numerous gathered cases of arsenic poisoning. People have died from doses of 50mg to 70mg. I lost the source. The deadly dose is also dependant on which form of arsenic has been ingested or inhaled. The most common form of arsenic is arsenic(III)oxide (As₂O₃), also called white arsenic and is also the substance which is referred to when speaking about arsenic poison. Some other forms of arsenic is even more poisonous. It depends on how easy the substance is taken up in the body. But even elemental arsenic is probably much more poisonous than what is described above, because of the formation of arsine in contact with hydrochloric acid (the acid also present in our stomachs).

Arsenic also knows a gas form: arsine. The wiki article mentions 20ppm as deadly. But that's just trivial semi-information, I think. (20ppm for what amount of time is the question, isn't it?). It is formed when arsenic comes into contact with acids or certain other substances (like zinc for instance).

If I remember this right: the above mentioned paper also declared that the signs of arsenic poisoning in less severe cases can take up to 24 hours and take several days to lead to death or recovery. So I'm in doubt the mentioned info is correct on this too. I expect, by my (limited) knowledge, that it should say: "Symptoms of arsenic poisoning typically occur within a day" instead of what is mentioned now.

Anyway, I think what is written here about the toxicity of arsenic should be reviewed by someone with good knowledge about the substance. If people who sometimes need to work with arsenic think 200 grams is the deadly dose, they might start taking risks without realizing the actual danger of handling this substance. Or at least the given source should be rechecked to see if there isn't any misreading or misinterpretation. (Or if there is no fault in the mentioned book itself) - comment added by Aszazin (talk) 13:18, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

IUPAC do not "ban" names[edit]

As a comment on the above contribution in the section Requested move 2 above, perhaps it should be pointed out in all fairness to IUPAC that they do not "ban" chemical names: they have no authority to do so, they have no powers to enforce any such "ban", and they can impose no penalty on any author who uses a name that does not have their approval. They can, and do, "deprecate" the use of certain nomenclature, and I'm sure that this is what Double sharp had in mind. As for the pros and cons of Pnictogen vs. Nitrogen group elements, Group V/Group XV/Group 15, I have no preference. I first heard the words Pnictogen and Pnictides some 30 years ago, at work, after some years as a PhD synthetic organic chemist. Let's leave Pnictogen as the title of the article - it is, after all, simply an item of argot, and I see no harm in being a nomenclature maven - it does, after all, allow the cognoscenti to be 'superior' to the year-10 script kiddies :-) VapourGhost (talk) 18:17, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Yes, that is indeed what I had in mind, and I was simply exaggerating, as seen from the quotes I placed around "banned". (I probably shouldn't do that, in case it gets misunderstood.) Double sharp (talk) 03:32, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Absurd claim.[edit]

Under 'Production' and then 'Nitrogen' an absurd claim is made that nitrogen may be produced by burning hydrocarbons or hydrogen in air. Nitrogen in diatomic form is already present in air if the temperatures are high enough some of the diatonic for may be lost as oxides of nitrogen, but burning hydrogen or pure hydrocarbons is not going to produce more diatonic hydrogen. How did this foolishness get slipped in? (talk) 22:16, 14 August 2016 (UTC) BGriffin