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

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History and Etymology for caput mortuum

New Latin, literally, dead head

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Cite this Entry

“Caput mortuum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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