Etymology
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arsenic (n.)

late 14c., "yellow arsenic, arsenic trisulphide," from Old French arsenic, from Latin arsenicum, from late Greek arsenikon "arsenic" (Dioscorides; Aristotle has it as sandarakē), adapted from Syriac (al) zarniqa "arsenic," from Middle Persian zarnik "gold-colored" (arsenic trisulphide has a lemon-yellow color), from Old Iranian *zarna- "golden" (from PIE root *ghel- (2) "to shine," with derivatives referring to bright materials and gold).

The form of the Greek word is folk etymology, literally "masculine," from arsen "male, strong, virile" (compare arseno-koites "lying with men" in New Testament) supposedly in reference to the powerful properties of the substance. As an element, from 1812. The mineral (as opposed to the element) is properly orpiment, from Latin auri pigmentum, so called because it was used to make golden dyes. Related: Arsenical.

... se lo pueden comer las hormigas o le puede caer en la cabeza una gran langosta de arsenico ... [Lorca, on the poet overmastered by intellect]

updated on September 25, 2022

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Definitions of arsenic from WordNet

arsenic (n.)
a white powdered poisonous trioxide of arsenic; used in manufacturing glass and as a pesticide (rat poison) and weed killer;
Synonyms: arsenic trioxide / arsenous anhydride / arsenous oxide / white arsenic / ratsbane
arsenic (n.)
a very poisonous metallic element that has three allotropic forms; arsenic and arsenic compounds are used as herbicides and insecticides and various alloys; found in arsenopyrite and orpiment and realgar;
Synonyms: As / atomic number "
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.