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Today, I learned that $\ce{N_3^-}$ is referred to as azide. I was wondering why $\ce{N_3^-}$ is referred to as azide. I checked Wikipedia for an answer, but I didn't find one. Does anyone know why this ion is assigned this name?

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  • $\begingroup$ dictionary.com says it's azo- + -ide. $\endgroup$
    – f''
    Jul 16, 2016 at 16:26
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    $\begingroup$ Speaking of which, azidoazide azide, unsurprisingly has only Nitrogen and explodes upon any stimulus (including a bright light). [unrelated but a cool fact] $\endgroup$ Jul 16, 2016 at 22:03

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Nitrogen was originally called 'azote' by Lavoisier. This name persists in many nitrogen containing species such as azide, hydrazine, diazonium etc.

The '-ide' ending is the standard ending for anions of a single element such as carbide, oxide, sulfide etc.

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Bon explains in their answer that

Nitrogen was originally called 'azote' by Lavoisier.

And it was called 'azote' because living things cannot survive in the gas.

From Greek a- "not, without" [...] + zoion "a living being;" [...] coined in French by Lavoisier & de Morveau because living things cannot survive in the gas.

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=azo-&allowed_in_frame=0

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We look here at the "-ide" part. It ultimately derives from the French word for "acid".

When the agent that supports combustion was identified as an acid former ("oxygène"), the products of such combustion came to be called "oxygène acides", contracted to "oxides".

The spread of the suffix to compounds of other nonmetals may have been promoted by the fact that several other nonmetals also form acidic products, such as "chlorine acids" ("chlorides") produced when that element combines with hydrogen, sulfur or phosphorus.

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