Share this entry

Share this page

calomel

Line breaks: calo|mel
Pronunciation: /ˈkaləmɛl
 
/

Definition of calomel in English:

noun

[mass noun]
Mercurous chloride, a white powder formerly used as a purgative.
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.

Origin

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).

Definition of calomel in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day snarf
Pronunciation: snärf
verb
eat or drink quickly or greedily