arsenic

noun
ar·​se·​nic | \ ˈärs-nik, ˈär-sə-\

Definition of arsenic 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a poisonous trivalent and pentavalent solid element that commonly occurs in a brittle, metallic, steel-gray, crystalline form and is used especially in wood preservatives, alloys, and semiconductors — see Chemical Elements Table
2 : a poisonous trioxide As2O3 or As4O6 of arsenic used especially as an insecticide or weed killer

called also arsenic trioxide

arsenic

adjective
ar·​sen·​ic | \ är-ˈse-nik \

Definition of arsenic (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or containing arsenic especially with a valence of five

Examples of arsenic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Many of the medicines Dr. Goodsir and his colleagues would have dispensed to sick or injured explorers also contained lead, not to mention arsenic and a few other things the FDA would balk at today. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Strands of hair shed light on doomed 19th-century Arctic expedition," 30 Sep. 2018 Coal ash can contain toxic mercury, arsenic and lead. Erin Ailworth, WSJ, "Florence Pushes Some North Carolina Dams to the Brink," 17 Sep. 2018 Our results: None of the test mugs leached lead, cadmium, or arsenic. The Good Housekeeping Institute, Good Housekeeping, "GHRI Investigates Microwave-Safe Mugs," 28 Sep. 2011 Most importantly, though, Science Fair makes clear that its subjects are humane, working on things like simple testing for arsenic in water, a defense against Zika virus, or a better understanding of at-risk teens. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "See Science Fair even if you’ve never entered one in your life," 16 Sep. 2018 Their investigations in Torres’s home country of El Salvador determined he was exposed to mercury, cyanide, arsenic and potentially other neurotoxins in utero and in his early years, possibly slowing his brain development, according to the motions. Justin Jouvenal, Washington Post, "Expert: Man set for trial in killing of Muslim teen may be too impaired to face death penalty," 18 May 2018 In New Hampshire, for example, more than 10% of wells exceed the EPA limit for arsenic. Rachael Moeller Gorman, Good Housekeeping, "Is Your Tap Water Safe?," 15 Aug. 2012 Estimates say upward of 363,000 tons of zinc; 29,000 tons of lead; 1,700 tons of cadmium; 270 tons of arsenic, and 200 tons of mercury were dumped by the company and made their way down the Upper Columbia River. Agueda Pacheco-flores, The Seattle Times, "Appeals court sides with Colville Tribe against Canadian mining company for polluting Upper Columbia River," 25 Sep. 2018 No children are allowed at the mine, and toxic chemicals like mercury and arsenic are reduced and contained so no leakages can damage the environment or communities around. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Jeweler Pippa Small’s New Collection Was Hand-Forged 4,000 Meters Up in Bolivia," 22 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In the 1870s, an American doctor tried to raise awareness of the hazards of arsenic-laced wallpaper by creating a book of potentially poisonous samples and sending it around to libraries. Amanda Erickson, Washington Post, "Three poisonous books were found in University of Southern Denmark’s library," 10 July 2018 Akeeshea Daniels discusses the fallout from an announcement during the summer of 2016 that lead and arsenic contamination were discovered in the soil of the West Calumet Housing Complex in East Chicago. Craig Lyons, Post-Tribune, "Crews ready to demolish West Calumet Housing Complex after evacuations due to lead and arsenic," 23 Mar. 2018 This analysis revealed that the green pigment on the books’ covers is arsenic. James Rogers, Fox News, "Deadly discovery: Poisonous books found in university library," 6 July 2018 For more information on lead exposure, click or tap http://bit.ly/LEADpoison For more information on arsenic exposure, click or tap http://bit.ly/ARSENICpoison. Jennie Key, Cincinnati.com, "Ballfield at sports complex will remain closed until lead is removed," 2 July 2018 In Lanare, the community service district received a $1 million federal grant in 2006 to treat arsenic contamination. Dale Kasler, Phillip Reese And Ryan Sabalow, sacbee, "360,000 Californians have unsafe drinking water. Are you one of them?," 1 June 2018 Eating arsenic isn’t the only way to get arsenic poisoning: It can also be inhaled and absorbed through the skin. Erin Blakemore, Washington Post, "The strange history of poisonous wallpaper and a dangerous book," 19 May 2018 Average lead and arsenic levels modeled at the international border and in Northport were several times higher than the Northwest’s next-largest reading, which was taken in an industrial area of Seattle. Becky Kramer, The Seattle Times, "EPA won’t test air in Washington state, downwind of B.C. lead smelter," 7 May 2018 Work cleaning up lead and arsenic contamination in East Chicago’s Calumet neighborhood could wrap up this year in one part of the Superfund site but take longer in another residential area, officials said. Craig Lyons, Post-Tribune, "EPA official: 'We're making headway' with East Chicago cleanup," 9 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arsenic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of arsenic

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1798, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for arsenic

Noun

Middle English arsenik orpiment, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin arsenicum, from Greek arsenikon, arrhenikon, from Syriac zarnīg, of Iranian origin; akin to Avestan zaranya gold, Sanskrit hari yellowish — more at yellow

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Statistics for arsenic

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for arsenic

The first known use of arsenic was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for arsenic

arsenic

noun

English Language Learners Definition of arsenic

: a poisonous chemical that is used especially to kill insects and weeds

arsenic

noun
ar·​se·​nic | \ ˈärs-nik, ˈär-sə-\

Kids Definition of arsenic

: a solid poisonous chemical element that is usually gray and snaps easily

arsenic

noun
ar·​se·​nic | \ ˈärs-nik, -ᵊn-ik \

Medical Definition of arsenic 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a trivalent and pentavalent solid poisonous element that is commonly metallic steel-gray, crystalline, and brittle symbol As — see Chemical Elements Table

arsenic

adjective
ar·​sen·​ic | \ är-ˈsen-ik \

Medical Definition of arsenic (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or containing arsenic especially with a valence of five

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More from Merriam-Webster on arsenic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with arsenic

Spanish Central: Translation of arsenic

Nglish: Translation of arsenic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about arsenic

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