One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A yellow crystalline compound which is present in many lichens and is used as an antibiotic.
- ‘Bitter orange, aristolochic acid and usnic acid are all used for weight loss.’
- ‘Although several synthetic compounds inhibit this key pigment enzyme, the scientists found that usnic acid was over 10 times more effective than others tested.’
- ‘I don't know anyone else who's working on the toxicity of usnic acid besides me.’
Mid 19th century: usnic from medieval Latin usnea (from Arabic ushnah ‘moss’) + -ic.
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