The word arsenic takes root in the Persian word zarnikh meaning "yellow orpiment".
Arsenic compounds are widely used as a wood preservative. Since the mid 1990's arsenic trioxide, a preservative, has accounted for 86% to 95% of US consumption of arsenic. Other uses include in glass and in non-ferrous alloys. High purity arsenic is used in a variety of semiconductor applications including solar cells, LEDs, lasers and PCBs.