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

Prior to but particularly during the Victorian era, arsenic was shockingly commonplace. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Arsenic-Laced Books Discovered in University Library," 3 July 2018 White arsenic was a key ingredient for manufacturing boll weevil pesticides. Roger Showley, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Black Mountain Ranch area: New master-planned communities garner environmental awards, bring 'sacred light'," 22 June 2018 The 2015 spill released a bright yellow-orange plume laden with arsenic, lead, and other toxic metals into rivers. Dan Elliott, The Christian Science Monitor, "EPA announces plan to clean up Colorado mines," 15 June 2018 The 2015 spill released a bright yellow-orange plume laden with arsenic, lead and other toxic metals into rivers. Washington Post, "EPA lays out next steps to clean up southwest Colorado mines," 14 June 2018 The three texts are themselves poisonous, featuring covers made with high concentrations of arsenic. Amanda Erickson, Washington Post, "Three poisonous books were found in University of Southern Denmark’s library," 10 July 2018 In 2008, Chinese medical investigators found extraordinarily high levels of arsenic in his remains, leading to a popular conclusion that the empress had killed him to try to stop him from introducing political reforms after her own death. New York Times, "Was This Powerful Chinese Empress a Feminist Trailblazer?," 10 July 2018 High levels of arsenic and other compounds are found in their blood. John Timpane, Philly.com, "Eliza Griswold's 'Amity and Prosperity': Fracking, profit, and human costs in western Pa.," 28 June 2018 The most likely explanation is that many carcinogens are mixing together: adding radon or asbestos to smoking pushes the risk up to 300 times higher than normal, and Tucker thinks the same is likely true for arsenic and chromium. Jessica Wapner, Newsweek, "The Cancer Epidemic in Central Appalachia," 19 July 2015

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 In the lab, Alcantar’s team observed that mucilage from the insides of the cactus captures not only sediment but also arsenic and bacteria in contaminated water. Christina Procopiou, Newsweek, "Cactus Guts Could Rid Water of Toxins," 13 Mar. 2016

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

17 Oct 2018

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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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