Definition of orpiment in English:



mass noun
  • A bright yellow mineral consisting of arsenic trisulphide, formerly used as a dye and artist's pigment.

    • ‘But, among what Ms. Moore lists as ‘poisonous’ pigments are camotite and orpiment that give bright yellow and cinnabar and realgar that give red.’
    • ‘Jet is black and shiny when polished, and was sometimes inlaid with tin, calcium carbonate or orpiment, a yellow mineral imported from France and Germany.’
    • ‘Commonly associated minerals include orpiment, stibnite, a variety of sulfides and sulfosalts, calcite, and barite.’
    • ‘Even the arsenic mine at Shimen, Hunan Province, is still the source of minor amounts of good realgar, orpiment, and calcite.’
    • ‘Of these, lead white, red ochre, red lake, orpiment and Prussian blue do not appear in the 1892 list; but all these pigments have been found elsewhere in Watts's oeuvre.’


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin auripigmentum, from aurum ‘gold’ + pigmentum ‘pigment’.