Definition of galvanism in English:


Line breaks: gal¦van|ism
Pronunciation: /ˈgalvəˌnɪz(ə)m


[mass noun] historical
  • 1Electricity produced by chemical action.
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    • He attended lectures on many different topics but he was particularly interested in those on electricity, galvanism and mechanics.
    • Whether that sense took the form, scientifically, of a fascination with galvanism and electromagnetic storms, or of an interest in the role of the ‘animalcules’ and ‘infusoria,’ it clearly foreshadows twenty-first century science.
    • On one level, Humboldt's physiological work was dedicated to the investigation of the powers of living matter, and especially the phenomenon of galvanism.
  • 2The therapeutic use of electric currents.
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    • The friends were deeply engaged with the scientific ideas of their day, including those of galvanism, or creating life through electric impulses.
    • The fact that contractions occurred in dead and living preparations suggested galvanism had application in the revival of persons asphyxiated or drowned.
    • Galvanism produced no effect on the paralysed muscles.


late 18th century: from French galvanisme, from Galvani, Luigi.

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