One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A poisonous compound found in deadly nightshade and related plants. It is used in medicine as a muscle relaxant, e.g. in dilating the pupil of the eye.
An alkaloid; chemical formula: C₁₇N₂₃NO₃
- ‘Alkaloids are well known in human history for their pharmacological effects and include such well-known compounds as atropine, morphine, codeine, heroin, nicotine, caffeine, cocaine and quinine.’
- ‘Before ocular surgery, phenylephrine is used with atropine to dilate the pupil.’
- ‘Strychnine, atropine, cocaine, certain snake venoms, and other poisons cause convulsions, resulting from altered nerve conduction in the brain and spinal cord.’
- ‘It is impossible to manage serious organophosphate pesticide poisoning without atropine.’
- ‘The role of the doctor might be to establish intravenous access and, where appropriate, to administer drugs such as atropine.’
- ‘If symptoms are present, atropine should be given.’
Mid 19th century: modern Latin Atropa belladonna ‘deadly nightshade’, from Atropos + -ine.
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