Definition of galvanism in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɡalvəˌnɪz(ə)m/


[mass noun] historical
1Electricity produced by chemical action.
Example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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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