Main definitions of mercury in English

: mercury1mercury2Mercury3

mercury1

noun

mass noun
  • 1The chemical element of atomic number 80, a heavy silvery-white metal which is liquid at ordinary temperatures.

    ‘we completed a programme to test all of our coal-fired plants for mercury and other air-toxins’
    Also called quicksilver
    • ‘Inorganic mercury, a heavy metal, is highly toxic to both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells.’
    • ‘Generally, the water permeability mediated by these aquaporin-subtypes was sensitive to heavy metals such as mercury.’
    • ‘The wetlands dense foliage has the ability to handle heavy metals, like mercury, zinc, nickel and copper.’
    • ‘For example, tobacco plants can absorb heavy metals, mercury, copper, and lead.’
    • ‘Selenium may have a protective effect against mercury and other heavy metal toxicities.’
    • ‘Finally, vitamin C can help rid the body of heavy metal toxins, including mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel.’
    • ‘However, fish such as swordfish and shark are also a source of exposure to the heavy metal toxin, mercury.’
    • ‘At the end of the reactivity series are metals such as mercury, silver, and platinum.’
    • ‘MT proteins regulate blood levels of metals such as copper and zinc and serve to detoxify the body of mercury and other heavy metals.’
    • ‘Dental alloys for making amalgams contain silver, tin, mercury, and some copper and zinc.’
    • ‘Certain wild fish are contaminated with mercury, a heavy metal that damages your nervous system and may increase your heart attack risk.’
    • ‘Combined with silver, mercury, copper and antimony, however, gold is to be found finely distributed.’
    • ‘Only a heavy metal like mercury would cause something like that.’
    • ‘I have seen the treatment in various stages, and I think that it works to rid the body of mercury and other heavy metals.’
    • ‘Every year crematoria in Scotland belch out about 130 kg of mercury, a liquid heavy metal that attacks the nervous system and can cause brain damage.’
    • ‘After treatment, tap water " definitely had no E.Coli at all ", he said, while heavy metals such as mercury were all within safety standards.’
    • ‘Alarm bells have started ringing, as water samples from the marsh show the presence of the heavy metal, mercury in it.’
    • ‘Kyrgyzstan has deposits of gold, coal, bismuth, mercury, antimony, tungsten, and copper.’
    • ‘An avid environmentalist, she was shocked to hear that her favorite food was contaminated with the toxic heavy metal mercury, and she expressed her anger in a song.’
    • ‘Also, tuna is one of the species of fish that tends to be most contaminated with the heavy metal mercury.’
    1. 1.1 The column of mercury in a thermometer or barometer, or its height as indicating atmospheric temperature or pressure.
      ‘coastal sunshine sends mercury soaring’
      • ‘Heat merges with the steady beat of the waves, sending testosterone and adrenaline levels rising like mercury in a thermometer.’
      • ‘This is because the traditional blood pressure monitor - known as a sphygmomanometer - uses a column of mercury to measure pressure.’
      • ‘The mercury is rising from coast to coast and as the temperature increases, so do concerns about heat-related illness.’
      • ‘Inside the glass, the height of a column of mercury could be read on a measured scale.’
      • ‘Inland, a heatwave sent the mercury soaring last week to 40šC and more.’
      • ‘My eyes filled with tears like mercury rising, and soon I just burst.’
      • ‘A type of blood pressure monitor that uses a column of mercury to measure cuff pressure.’
      • ‘With mercury soaring in Vijayawada, a crow takes to water to beat the heat.’
      • ‘The unit of measurement is actually millimeters of mercury, and that figure of 120 just means the pressure is high enough to hold up a column of mercury 120 mm high.’
      • ‘His music keeps rising like mercury on a summer's day.’
      • ‘Through the puny window of this train called life, what we see is just our own morning blues, afternoon lows, sagging hopes and soaring mercury.’
      • ‘Roads across the county suffered in last summer's heatwave when temperatures soared to record levels and mercury moved towards the 100F mark on thermometers.’
      • ‘The mercury soared to 35.9 degrees Celsius on February 16 this year, the highest recorded for the month in history.’
      • ‘The mercury plunged to minus 7C in parts of Cheshire last night, to minus 10 in the Vale of York and minus 12 in Sennybridge, South Wales.’
      • ‘Only in October does the mercury take a small ‘leap’ upward to 22-14 average daily maximum and minimum!’
      • ‘The mercury was rising in the city (around 37 degrees Celsius) during the past one week and this had become the talk of the town.’
      • ‘Malaria, typhoid and other water-borne diseases are portended as mercury soars in summer.’
      • ‘If the good rain last year led to the growth of thick vegetation, the soaring mercury level in the city now has fire force personnel on their toes.’
      • ‘The mercury on the outside thermometer was stuck at 55 below zero.’
      • ‘Their body temperatures rise and fall with the mercury in the thermometer.’
    2. 1.2historical Mercury or one of its compounds used medicinally, especially to treat syphilis.
      ‘one wonders how many unfortunates owed their demise to his prescription of mercury to clarify the spleen’
      • ‘Many people know about the former use of mercury in treating syphilis, for the substance had some benefit and the remedy endured for centuries.’
      • ‘The levels of toxic mercury in these vaccinations can cause lasting and serious developmental and neurological problems in these children.’
      • ‘In the late 15th century, the famous alchemist Paracelsus began to prescribe mercury to treat syphilis.’
      • ‘Shakespeare was probably being treated with mercury for syphilis, it seems.’
      • ‘In Shakespeare's time, one of the treatments for syphilis, inhalation of mercury vapor, was worse than the disease.’

Origin

Middle English: from Latin Mercurius (see Mercury (sense 1)).

Pronunciation

mercury

/ˈməːkjəri/

Main definitions of mercury in English

: mercury1mercury2Mercury3

mercury2

noun

  • A plant of a genus which includes dog's mercury.

Origin

Mid 16th century: from the genus name, from Latin mercurialis ‘of the god Mercury’.

Pronunciation

mercury

/ˈməːkjəri/

Main definitions of mercury in English

: mercury1mercury2Mercury3

Mercury3

proper noun

  • 1Roman Mythology
    The Roman god of eloquence, skill, trading, and thieving, herald and messenger of the gods, who was identified with Hermes.

    1. 1.1 Used in names of newspapers and journals.
      ‘the Leicester Mercury’
      • ‘The stock scandal has weakened both Mercury's prestige and its management structure.’
      • ‘The Mercury understands the authorised number of positions in the unit is five.’
      • ‘The prosaic answer is that the Mercury takes itself very seriously indeed.’
      • ‘The Sunday Mercury reported that some pro-hunt acts of violence had already occurred.’
      • ‘The parents of Stephen Downing visit Don Hale, the editor of the Matlock Mercury.’
      • ‘Did his will request The Mercury's editor try to force him out early?’
      • ‘According to Mercury's numbers, that share is down a single percentage point on the previous quarter.’
      • ‘A Wollongong specialist told the Mercury he had been told of two false positive readings.’
      • ‘His mother, Doreen, has spoken out in the local Mercury newspaper about the spate of attacks.’
      • ‘He has rejected a suggestion The Mercury was running a campaign to destabilise Mr Butler.’
  • 2Astronomy
    A small planet that is the closest to the sun in the solar system, sometimes visible to the naked eye just after sunset.

Pronunciation

Mercury

/ˈməːkjəri/