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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Cadmium, a deadly poison, exceeded the safe limit by seven times; arsenic by 20 times.
▪ Copper, zinc, arsenic and tungsten are associated with tin in quartz-tourmaline veins.
▪ It absorbed so much arsenic that, in just two weeks, arsenic comprised two per cent of its entire weight.
▪ Likewise, the arsenic atoms appear if the voltage is positive.
▪ That afternoon the old man drank arsenic in his office and died.
▪ The chocolates had been laced with arsenic too.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Arsenic \Ar"se*nic\ ([aum]r"s[-e]*n[i^]k; 277), n. [L. arsenicum, Gr. 'arseniko`n, 'arreniko`n, yellow orpiment, perh. fr. 'arseniko`s or better Attic 'arreniko`s masculine, 'a`rrhn male, on account of its strength, or fr. Per. zern[=i]kh: cf. F. arsenic.]

  1. (Chem.) One of the elements, a solid substance resembling a metal in its physical properties, but in its chemical relations ranking with the nonmetals. It is of a steel-gray color and brilliant luster, though usually dull from tarnish. It is very brittle, and sublimes at 356[deg] Fahrenheit. It is sometimes found native, but usually combined with silver, cobalt, nickel, iron, antimony, or sulphur. Orpiment and realgar are two of its sulphur compounds, the first of which is the true arsenicum of the ancients. The element and its compounds are active poisons. Specific gravity from 5.7 to 5.9. Atomic weight 75. Symbol As.

  2. (Com.) Arsenious oxide or arsenious anhydride; -- called also arsenious acid, white arsenic, and ratsbane.


Arsenic \Ar*sen"ic\, a. (Chem.) Pertaining to, or derived from, arsenic; -- said of those compounds of arsenic in which this element has its highest equivalence; as, arsenic acid.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late 14c., from Old French arsenic, from Latin arsenicum, from late Greek arsenikon "arsenic" (Dioscorides; Aristotle has it as sandarake), adapted from Syriac (al) zarniqa "arsenic," from Middle Persian zarnik "gold-colored" (arsenic trisulphide has a lemon-yellow color), from Old Iranian *zarna- "golden," from PIE root *ghel- (2) "to shine," with derivatives referring to bright materials and gold (see glass).\n

\nThe form of the Greek word is folk etymology, literally "masculine," from arsen "male, strong, virile" (compare arseno-koites "lying with men" in New Testament) supposedly in reference to the powerful properties of the substance. The mineral (as opposed to the element) is properly orpiment, from Latin auri pigmentum, so called because it was used to make golden dyes.


a. Of, or containing arsenic with a valence of 5. n. 1 A nonmetallic chemical element (''symbol'' As) with an atomic number of 33. 2 arsenic trioxide.

  1. n. a very poisonous metallic element that has three allotropic forms; arsenic and arsenic compounds are used as herbicides and insecticides and various alloys; found in arsenopyrite and orpiment and realgar [syn: As, atomic number 33]

  2. a white powdered poisonous trioxide of arsenic; used in manufacturing glass and as a pesticide and weed killer [syn: arsenic trioxide, arsenous anhydride, arsenous oxide]


Arsenic is a chemical element with symbol As and atomic number 33. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in combination with sulfur and metals, but also as a pure elemental crystal. Arsenic is a metalloid. It has various allotropes, but only the gray form is important to industry.

The primary use of metallic arsenic is in alloys of lead (for example, in car batteries and ammunition). Arsenic is a common n-type dopant in semiconductor electronic devices, and the optoelectronic compound gallium arsenide is the second most commonly used semiconductor after doped silicon. Arsenic and its compounds, especially the trioxide, are used in the production of pesticides, treated wood products, herbicides, and insecticides. These applications are declining, however.

A few species of bacteria are able to use arsenic compounds as respiratory metabolites. Trace quantities of arsenic are an essential dietary element in rats, hamsters, goats, chickens, and presumably many other species, including humans. However, arsenic poisoning occurs in multicellular life if quantities are larger than needed. Arsenic contamination of groundwater is a problem that affects millions of people across the world.

Usage examples of "arsenic".

The precipitate of ammonic-magnesic phosphate is filtered off, dissolved, and titrated with uranium acetate, using the same standard solution as is used in the arsenic assay: 0.

In a report of a poisoning case now on trial, where we are told that arsenic enough was found in the stomach to produce death in twenty-four hours, the patient is said to have been treated by arsenic, phosphorus, bryonia, aconite, nux vomica, and muriatic acid,--by a practitioner of what school it may be imagined.

If, after adding excess of silver nitrate to insure a complete precipitation, the arsenate of silver be filtered off, the weight of the arsenic could be estimated from the weight of silver arsenate formed.

He had never accepted the theory of andromedotoxin poisoning that Grace had put forward and was even less happy with the idea of a fatal dose of arsenic delivered through the medium of the unfortunate pheasant and, what was more, he knew Grace could never have subscribed to these theories either.

Ay, I know you have arsenic, Vitriol, sal-tartar, argaile, alkali, Cinoper: I know all.

A piece of glass or porcelain held to the flame will have, if arsenic be present, a deposit on it having the following characters: In the centre a deposit of metallic arsenic, round this a mixture of metallic arsenic and arsenious acid, and outside this another ring of arsenious acid in octahedral crystals.

The product is fused with more arsenic under a slag, consisting mainly of borax.

Then Laveran had injected arsenic under the skins of some of those suffering mice.

Iron is found combined with sulphur in pyrrhotine and pyrites, and together with arsenic in mispickel.

EPA and the White House with comments opposing the rollback of the arsenic rule.

Despite common belief, it is demonstrable that a combination of arsenic and mercuric salts does not increase in toxicity as the poison is recovered from the vomitus of one victim to the next.

Porak, after giving some historical notes, describes a long series of experiments performed on the guinea-pig in order to investigate the passage of arsenic, copper, lead, mercury, phosphorus, alizarin, atropin, and eserin through the placenta.

A simpler and bolder practice found welcome in Germany, depending chiefly on mineral remedies, mercury, antimony, sulphur, arsenic, and the use, sometimes the secret use, of opium.

Rings of pale-coloured scoria may be due to tin, zinc, antimony, or arsenic.

The first of these is arsenic trioxide, an extremely poisonous substance.