The term lithography originated form the combination of two Greek words; “lithos” meaning stone and “graphia” meaning to write.
Thus lithography means “stone writing”. Actually Senefelder preferred the term “chemical printing” recognizing that the use of stone was only an example of a more general process.
Lithography remains the most chemically based of the conventional printing processes. Zincography is the similar chemical printing process based on zinc.
The special lithographic crayon invented by Senefelder was made from wax, soap and lampblack. This was key to creating an oleophilic (literally oil liking) image.
This worked because the inks were oil based, which is still true for modern litho inks.
The key to lithographic printing is the creation of an oil-wet image area, a water-wet nonimage area, and the non-mixing of oil and water.
Thus, it is an application of phase equilibrium and surface chemistry.