Litmus meaning

lĭt'məs
A water-soluble bluish powder derived from certain lichens that changes to red with increasing acidity and to deeper blue with increasing basicity.
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A purple coloring matter obtained from various lichens and used as an acid-base indicator in chemical analysis: it turns blue in bases and red in acids.
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A colored powder, obtained from certain lichens, that changes to red in an acid solution and to blue in an alkaline solution. Litmus is a mixture of various closely related heterocyclic organic compounds. &diamf3; Litmus is typically added to paper to make litmus paper , which can be used to determine whether a solution is basic or acidic by dipping a strip of the paper into the solution and seeing how the paper changes color.
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(uncountable) A dyestuff extracted from certain lichens, that changes color when exposed to pH levels greater than or less than certain critical levels.
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A simple test of acidity in a liquid using litmus, usually in the form of litmus paper.
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A simple test of any attribute; a litmus test.
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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.
    From Wiktionary