Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. worthless residue, useless substance
  • n. Cardinal purple, a variety of haematite iron oxide pigment

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The residuum after distillation or sublimation; hence, worthless residue.

Etymologies

From the Latin. (Wiktionary)

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  • In alchemy,
    Caput Mortuum
    (alternately called nigredo)
    signified a useless substance left over from a
    chemical operation such as
    sublimation
    and the epitome of
    decline and decay;

    alchemists represented this residue with a
    stylized human skull,
    a literal
    death's head.

    - Wikipedia

    June 6, 2012