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arsenic Syllabification: ar·se·nic

Definition of arsenic in English:


Pronunciation: /ˈärs(ə)nik/
The chemical element of atomic number 33, a brittle steel-gray metalloid. (Symbol: As)

Arsenic compounds (and their poisonous properties) have been known since ancient times, and the metallic form was isolated in the Middle Ages. Arsenic occurs naturally in orpiment, realgar, and other minerals, and rarely as the free element. Arsenic is used in semiconductors and some specialized alloys; its toxic compounds are widely used in wood preservation

Example sentences
  • In animals and plants, arsenic combines with carbon and hydrogen to form organic arsenic.
  • Harvey's team suggests that organic carbon feeds chemical reactions that liberate arsenic from minerals in the soil.
  • Well basically CCA treated timber is treated with copper, chromium and arsenic, which is injected into the wood under pressure.


Pronunciation: /ärˈsenik/
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1Of or relating to arsenic.
Example sentences
  • Your article on arsenic poisoning of drinking water in Bangladesh and India (International, August 8) clearly illustrated a terrible disaster for many millions of people.
  • Since following UN advice to dig deeper wells 12 years ago, 15,000 serious cases of arsenic poisoning have been identified.
  • He was murdered on September 6 by arsenic poisoning while on a Geruda Airlines flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam.
1.1 Chemistry Of arsenic with a valence of five; of arsenic (V).
Example sentences
  • Further dilutions only serve to reduce our chance of finding an arsenic ion by an order of magnitude each time.
  • When heated in air, it reacts with oxygen to form arsenic oxide.
  • All of these came from natural sources such as madder, kermes, red and white lead, verdigris, yellow ochre, yellow arsenic sulphide, oak gall, indigo and woad and lapis lazuli.


Late Middle English (denoting yellow orpiment, arsenic sulfide): via Old French from Latin arsenicum, from Greek arsenikon 'yellow orpiment', identified with arsenikos 'male', but in fact from Arabic al-zarnīḵ 'the orpiment', based on Persian zar 'gold'.

  • The chemical element arsenic is a brittle steel-grey substance with many highly poisonous compounds, but its root word means ‘gold’. In English the word first referred to a compound of arsenic called arsenic sulphide or yellow orpiment, which was used as a dye and artist's pigment. The word comes from Greek arsenikon, from Arabic az-zarnīk, the root of which was Persian zar ‘gold’.

Words that rhyme with arsenic

anthropogenic, autogenic, callisthenic (US calisthenic), carcinogenic, cariogenic, cryogenic, erotogenic, eugenic, fennec, hallucinogenic, Hellenic, hypo-allergenic, photogenic, pyrogenic, radiogenic, schizophrenic, telegenic

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