Origin of litmus
- Middle English litemose (of Scandinavian origin) (Old Norse litmosi dyer's herbs) (litr color, dye) (mosi bog, moss) Middle English lykemose (from Middle Dutch lijkmoes) (variant of lēcmoes) (lēken to drip) (moes moss)
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- 1495, earlier lytmos, from Old Norse litmosi (“moss used for dyeing"), from lita (“to dye, stain"), from litr (“colour, dye, blee"), from Proto-Germanic *wlitiz, *wlituz (“appearance, blee"), from Proto-Indo-European *wel- (“to see") + mosi (“moss"). Cognate with Old English wlite (“appearance, form, brightness, countenance"). More at moss.