One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of a class of neutral dyes, many of which are used as sensitizers for photographic emulsions, in which a nitrogen atom (usually part of a basic heterocycle) is linked to a carbonyl group (usually part of an acidic heterocycle) by a conjugated chain of carbon atoms.
1930s. From mero- + cyanine, because these dyes have part of the structure of cyanine dyes.
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