Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A colorless, white or brown tasteless compound, Hg2Cl2, used as a purgative and insecticide. Also called mercurous chloride.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. mercurous chloride Hg2Cl2

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Mild chloride of mercury, Hg2Cl2, a heavy, white or yellowish white substance, insoluble and tasteless, much used in medicine as a mercurial and purgative; mercurous chloride. It occurs native as the mineral horn quicksilver.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Hemi-, sub-, or protochlorid of mercury, or mercurous chlorid, Hg2Cl2.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a tasteless colorless powder used medicinally as a cathartic

Etymologies

Probably from New Latin calomelās : Greek kalos, beautiful + melās, black.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • In the nineteenth century, a mercury compound called calomel was used to treat everything from tuberculosis and parasites to toothaches and constipation.

    The Panic Virus

  • A mercury-containing powder called calomel was given to babies for teething pains in the 1940s and caused pink disease a syndrome that included cognitive and psychiatric disorders that mimicked autism.

    The UltraMind Solution

  • In a general way, treatment for this sort of headache consists in the use of a cathartic, such as calomel (three-fifths of a grain) at night, followed by a Seidlitz powder or a tablespoonful of Epsom salts in a glass of cold water in the morning.

    The Home Medical Library, Volume II (of VI)

  • Use vaseline or some other grease (such as calomel ointment) _beforehand_, to prevent direct contact with the source of infection.

    Safe Marriage A Return to Sanity

  • As the secretion diminishes, dry powders, such as calomel, sulphates of iron, copper, etc., may prove of most advantage.

    Special Report on Diseases of the Horse

  • A trip to the medical doctor in September of 1895 could involve the taking of medicines such as calomel (mercury chloride) or tarter emetic to induce vomiting or create a laxative effect, or if one suffered a cough, a dose of opium could calm it quick.

    Chiropractic News

  • In Barbados Mr Ody, master mate of the Arab, was poisoned by eating "a Mangereen apple", causing "severe vomiting and violent convulsions, I poured down a good quantity of sweet oil, applied the warm bath, gave him a calomel purge & the next morning he brought away a considerable quantity of blood and skins of the stomach being corroded by the virulence of the fruit".

    Amputations, acid gargles and ammonia rubs: Royal Navy surgeons' 1793-1880 journals revealed

  • Even calomel and sago couldn't help three men struck by lighting on the same ship in October 1799.

    Amputations, acid gargles and ammonia rubs: Royal Navy surgeons' 1793-1880 journals revealed

  • Alcott wrote.38 The doctors gathered around their suffering comrade giving her doses of calomel, taking her pulse, and examining her lungs.

    Louisa May Alcott

  • The liver was thought usually to be the source of disease, and a mercury compound named calomel was believed to be a great healer of all liver ailments.

    Louisa May Alcott

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Comments

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  • n. mercurous chloride

    Shelves in Mrs Albright's sitting-room, where they were handy to get at, held alum, for canker sores; cocoa butter, for the chest; paregoric, for colic and diarrhoea; laudanum, for pain; balsam apples, for poultices; bismuth, for the bowels; magneeshy (carbonate of magnesium), a light, chalky substance, wrapped in blue paper, that was an antacid and a gentle laxative; and calomel and blue mass, regarded by women of Aunt Margery's generation as infallible regulators of the liver.
    —James Thurber, 1952, 'Daguerreotype of a Lady', in The Thurber Album

    (I'm not going to list 'paregoric' here, as I've heard the word before, though but vaguely knew it: a medicine for relieving pain, and as it contained opium in alcohol I can readily believe it. Nor the dialect representation of 'magnesia'.)

    July 10, 2008

  • Tireless passion, fierce jealousy, longing to possess and crush - these alone were left of all his love for Rosalind; these remained to him as payment for the loss of his youth - bitter calomel under the thin sugar of love's exaltation.

    - Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

    April 10, 2008