One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
- archaic term for nitric acid
- ‘The old name of nitric acid is aqua fortis meaning ‘strong water.’’
- ‘A set of urchins and chaps, neither men nor boys, by way of a ‘high game,’ procured aqua fortis, vitriol and other corrosive liquids, and filling therewith a syringe, or bottle, sallied forth to give the girls ‘a squirt.’’
- ‘Old time gun makers stained their stocks with aqua fortis, a combination of nitric acid diluted with distilled water and iron filings.’
- ‘Nitric acid at this phase is called aqua fortis and when it is concentrated, concentrated nitric.’
- ‘He does not appear, however, to have known the true nature of aqua fortis, and called his process the ‘curing’ of India-rubber by the use of that acid.’
Late 15th century: from Latin, literally ‘strong water’.
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