# History of the word copperas

I searched for copperas on google and it says ferrous sulphate. My dictionary shows that the word copperas is derived from copper.

I was just wondering what has ferrous sulphate to do with copper

## 1 Answer

You are on the right track.

explains the German term Kupferwasser (copper water) as

veraltete Bezeichnung für unreinen (kupferhaltigen) Eisenvitriol

which means outdated name for impure (copper-containing) iron vitriol.

Note that iron vitriol is an old term for iron(II) sulfate, such as vitriolic oil is an outdated name for sulfuric acid.

If you take a look at English wikipedia page on iron(II)sulfate, you'll see that one of the common minerals is a heptahydrate, melanterite. If you follow the link, you will recognize that one of the associated minerals is chalcanthite, which is $\ce{CuSO4·5H2O}$.

To cut the long story short, the term copperas stems from the fact that natural iron(II)sulfate was often found to be associated and maybe contaminated with copper(II)sulfate.