arsenic

noun
ar·​se·​nic | \ ˈärs-nik How to pronounce arsenic (audio) , 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 How to pronounce arsenic (audio) \

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

The emerald green gowns, gloves, carpets, and wallpaper that came into vogue in Victorian Britain, which appeared extra brilliant thanks to the arsenic in their dye, resulted in scabs, sores, and organ failure. Eliza Brooke, Vox, "Why cadmium, a metal that can cause kidney and bone damage, is still used in jewelry," 12 Oct. 2018 Polhemus said pumping worsened the prevalence of naturally-occurring arsenic, one of the biggest water contaminants in the state. Dale Kasler, Phillip Reese And Ryan Sabalow, sacbee, "360,000 Californians have unsafe drinking water. Are you one of them?," 1 June 2018 The results are run through a processor (6), which analyzes the sample for the presence of four basic elements that are common in chemical weapons: phosphorus, hydrogen-nitrogen-oxygen bonds, arsenic, and sulfur. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "How the Experts Identify Chemical Weapons and Prove an Attack," 7 Aug. 2018 Hundreds of youngsters who played sports at the Taylor Creek Youth Organization complex in Whitewater Township may have been exposed to lead and arsenic, officials announced Monday. Jennie Key, Cincinnati.com, "Officials: Taylor Creek Youth Organization sports field contaminated with lead, arsenic," 7 May 2018 Burning coal creates ash that can contain arsenic, selenium, lead and mercury. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "South Carolina Faces More Flooding as Rivers Continue to Crest," 25 Sep. 2018 Coal ash contains arsenic, mercury and other toxic metals. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "North Carolina dam at retired power plant breaches, may release coal ash into river," 21 Sep. 2018 Other such treatments in history included cigarettes laced with mercury or arsenic, port-wine enemas, the excreta of chameleons and Indian river snakes, and the gastric juices of crows. Adrian Woolfson, WSJ, "‘The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth’ Review: Desperate Remedies," 12 Dec. 2018 The Idaho Conservation League in the lawsuit filed last month says Idaho officials are discharging arsenic and other pollutants from the former silver and lead mine into the East Fork of the Big Wood River in violation of the Clean Water Act. Keith Ridler, The Seattle Times, "Group cites central Idaho mine pollution in lawsuit," 2 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

21 Mar 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 How to pronounce arsenic (audio) , 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 How to pronounce arsenic (audio) \

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 How to pronounce arsenic (audio) \

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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