- a silvery-white, brittle, very poisonous chemical element, compounds of which are used in making insecticides, glass, medicines, semiconductors, etc.: symbol, As; at. no. 33
- loosely arsenic trioxide, AsO, a poisonous compound of arsenic used to exterminate insects and rodents: it is a white powder and has no taste
Origin of arsenicMiddle English from Old French from Classical Latin arsenicum from Classical Greek arsenikon, yellow orpiment; ultimately (? via Syr zarn?k(?)) from Iranian an unverified form zarn?k, gold-colored (from source Persian zarn?q, arsenic); associated, association in Classical Greek with arsenikos, strong, masculine
- As A highly poisonous metallic element having several allotropic forms of which the brittle, crystalline gray metallic form is the most common. The less stable yellow allotrope has a molecular structure, As4. Arsenic and its compounds are used in insecticides, weed killers, semiconductor dopants, and various alloys. Atomic number 33; atomic weight 74.9216; valence 3, 5. Gray arsenic melts at 817°C (at 28 atm pressure), sublimes at 616°C, and has a specific gravity of 5.75. See Periodic Table.
- Arsenic trioxide.
Origin of arsenicMiddle English arsenik from Old French from Latin arsenicum from Greek arsenikon yellow orpiment alteration of Syriac zarnīkā from Middle Persian zarnīk from Old Iranian zarna- golden ; see ghel-2 in Indo-European roots.
- Of, or containing arsenic with a valence of 5.
From Middle English arsenik, from Middle French arsenic, from Latin arsenicum, from Ancient Greek ἀρσενικόν (arsenikon, “yellow arsenic”) (influenced by ἀρσενικός (arsenikos, “potent, virile”)), from Semitic (compare Classical Syriac ܙܪܢܝܟܐ (zarnīḵā), Aramaic (zarnīḵā)), from Middle Iranian *zarnīk (compare Persian زرنی (zarnī, “arsenic”)), from Old Iranian *zarniya-ka- (compare Avestan (zaraniia-, “golden”), Old Persian (daraniya-, “gold”), Sanskrit हिरण्य (híraṇya, “gold”), Persian زر (zar, “gold”)), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰelh₃i. More at yellow.