Definition of calomel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkaləməl/


A white powder used as a purgative and a fungicide. Also called mercuric chloride.
  • Chemical formula: Hg2Cl2.
Example sentences
  • Surgeons relied on strong mercury purgatives, such as calomel or ‘blue pill’.
  • Reports of mercury poisoning from beauty creams containing calomel, or mercurous chloride, also surface regularly.
  • It includes the famous Livingstone Rousers - the combination of purgatives including calomel, quinine, rhubarb, essence of jalop and opium - which Livingstone found effective in treating his bouts of malaria.


Late 17th century: modern Latin, perhaps from Greek kalos 'beautiful' + melas 'black' (perhaps because it was originally obtained from a black mixture of mercury and mercuric chloride).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cal·o·mel

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