caput mortuum

caput mor·​tu·​um | \ -ˈmȯrchəwəm\
plural capita mortua\ -​wə \

Definition of caput mortuum

1 alchemy : the residuum after distillation or sublimation
2 : dross : worthless residue
3 or caput mortuum vitrioli \ -​ˌvi‧trēˈōˌlē , -​ī \ : a red iron-oxide pigment made by calcining iron sulfate

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

History and Etymology for caput mortuum

New Latin, literally, dead head

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on caput mortuum

What made you want to look up caput mortuum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a period when something is suspended

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!