Promethean from Prometheus, demigod (son of the Titan Iapetus) who made man from clay and 

stole fire from heaven and taught mankind its use, for which he was punished by Zeus by 

being chained to a rock in the Caucasus, where a vulture came every day and preyed on his 

liver. The name is Gk., lit. "forethought," from promethes "thinking before," from pro- 

"before" + mathein "to learn," from enlargement of PIE base *men- "to think" (see 

mathematic). Before the introduction of modern matches (see lucifer), prometheus was the 

name given (early 19c.) to small glass tubes full of sulphuric acid, surrounded by an 

inflammable mixture, which ignited when pressed and gave off light. Promethium, the metallic 

rare earth element, was so called by discoverers G.A. Marinsky and L.E. Henden in 1948.