One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The chemical element of atomic number 81, a soft silvery-white metal which occurs naturally in small amounts in iron pyrites, sphalerite, and other ores. Its compounds are very poisonous.
- ‘When too much thallium circulates in the blood, it invades all the organs of the body, impairing their operation, destroying hair follicles, muscles, and nerves.’
- ‘My advice is to undergo another test called stress thallium, which will show the amount of involvement of the heart muscle with ischemia.’
- ‘Over-exposure to thallium may cause nerve damage, emotional changes, cramps, convulsions and eventually coma which can lead to death caused by respiratory paralysis.’
- ‘However, water-soluble rubidium, cesium, thallium, and silver minerals are virtually nonexistent and should pose no complication.’
- ‘The scintillation detector, in this case a crystal of sodium iodide doped with thallium, emits a number of photons in direct proportion to the amount of energy deposited in the crystal by the dark matter particle.’
Mid 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek thallos ‘green shoot’, because of the green line in its spectrum.
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