One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The chemical element of atomic number 83, a brittle reddish-tinged grey metal.
- ‘This area proper is a prominent Chinese mining district known as the Xianghualing polymetallic ore field, and it consists of numerous deposits of tin, tungsten, molybdenum, bismuth, copper, lead, and zinc.’
- ‘These include lead, aluminium, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, gold, bismuth, antimony, and beryllium.’
- ‘Along the way, these disintegration series produce radioactive isotopes of protactinium, thorium, actinium, radium, francium, radon, astatine, polonium, bismuth, lead, thallium and mercury.’
- ‘The low-melting-point metals such as bismuth, lead, tin, and cadmium are added to aluminum to make free-machining alloys.’
- ‘Kyrgyzstan has deposits of gold, coal, bismuth, mercury, antimony, tungsten, and copper.’
- 1.1 A compound of bismuth used medicinally.
- ‘I can treat syphilis with bismuth and arsenic but penicillin is so much more effective.’
- ‘In 1867 a Dr Spencer was acquitted of manslaughter after a medication error in which strychnine was dispensed to a patient instead of bismuth.’
- ‘Another medicine that coats the stomach is called bismuth.’
- ‘Helidac is another medicine that combines bismuth and two antibiotics.’
- ‘Gastritis, duodenal and gastric ulcers may be infectious diseases treatable by antibiotics and by the 100-year-old medicine bismuth.’
Mid 17th century: from modern Latin bisemutum, Latinization of German Wismut, of unknown origin.
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