The denotation of elements by symbols had been practised by the alchemists, and it is interesting to note that the symbols allotted to the well-known elements are identical with the astrological symbols of the sun and the other members of the solar system.
This spirit gave way to the physicians, who regarded " chemistry as the art of preparing medicines," a denotation which in turn succumbed to the arguments of Boyle, who regarded it as the " science of the composition of substances," a definition which adequately fits the science to-day.
None of them, in point of fact, has held its ground, and even his proposal to denote unknown quantities by the vowels A, E, I, 0, u, Y - the consonants B, c, &c., being reserved for general known quantities - has not been taken up. In this denotation he followed, perhaps, some older contemporaries, as Ramus, who designated the points in geometrical figures by vowels, making use of consonants, R, S, T, &c., only when these were exhausted.
See also Denotation; and any text-books on elementary logic, e.g.
She studied the denotation of the sentence as a whole.