Definition of Alcian blue in US English:

Alcian blue


  • A water-soluble copper-containing blue dye used as a histological stain for glycosaminoglycans.

    • ‘Slides from each subject were stained with hematoxylin and eosin and Alcian blue / periodic acid-Schiff for histologic evaluation.’
    • ‘The histochemical stains (mucicarmine, Alcian blue, and periodic acid-Schiff diastase) failed to demonstrate mucin in tumor cells.’
    • ‘Inset shows large goblet cells packed with mucin (shown by Alcian blue staining)’
    • ‘Staining was performed with Alcian blue van Gieson, hematoxylin and eosin, and Alcian blue or safranin O or both.’
    • ‘Sections were stained with hematoxylin-eosin, Alcian blue, Masson's trichrome, van Gieson, and periodic acid-Schiff stains.’


1940s: Alcian perhaps from ( phth)al(o)cyan(ine) with a phonetic respelling.


Alcian blue

/ˌalsēən ˈblo͞o/