American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A water-soluble blue powder derived from certain lichens that changes to red with increasing acidity and to blue with increasing basicity.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A peculiar coloring matter procured from Roccella tinctoria and some other lichens. It is prepared chiefly in Holland by macerating the lichens with a mixture of urine, lime, and potash or soda. As a result of the fermentation, the mass finally becomes blue, when it is removed, is mixed with calcareous matter to give it consistence, and is then allowed to harden in molds. Paper tinged blue by litmus, called
litmus-paper, is reddened by an acid, for the presence of which it is used as a test; its blue color is restored by an alkali. See archil.
- n. uncountable A dyestuff extracted from certain lichens, that changes color when exposed to pH levels greater than or less than certain critical levels.
- n. A simple test of acidity in a liquid using litmus, usually in the form of litmus paper.
- n. A simple test of any attribute; a litmus test.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Chem.) A dyestuff extracted from certain lichens (Roccella tinctoria, Lecanora tartarea, etc.), as a blue amorphous mass which consists of a compound of the alkaline carbonates with certain coloring matters related to orcin and orcein.
- n. a coloring material (obtained from lichens) that turns red in acid solutions and blue in alkaline solutions; used as a very rough acid-base indicator
- 1495, earlier lytmos, from Old Norse litmosi ("moss used for dyeing"), from lita ("to dye, stain"), from litr ("colour, dye, blee"), from Proto-Germanic *wlitiz, *wlituz (“appearance, blee”), from Proto-Indo-European *wel- (“to see”) + mosi ("moss"). Cognate with Old English wlite ("appearance, form, brightness, countenance"). More at moss. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English litemose (of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse litmosi, dyer's herbs litr, color, dye + mosi, bog, moss) and Middle English lykemose (from Middle Dutch lijkmoes, variant of lēcmoes : lēken, to drip + moes, moss). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“ The term litmus is often used to refer to a general and simple test: Your vote on this issue is a litmus test of your political philosophy.”
“He said Angola had reached the point when soldiers would be quartered in camps and demobilized, which he called the litmus test for peace.”
“This is what Israeli Democracy Looks Like '; yahooBuzzArticleSummary =' Article: Freedom of the press is often called the litmus test of democracy.”
“MOLINEAUX: It's like hearing the word litmus test coming up in the next few months.”
“Because they knew full well the Tibetan people and Tibetan monks would not accept their choice, so instead of a puppet Lama who would mouth their message to believing Tibetans, they erected a built-in, long-term litmus test to root out monks and nuns and lamas who were sincere Tibetan Buddhist practitioners, since when they were forced to pledge allegiance to the Communist choice of reincarnation, the sincere ones would refuse, and so could be kicked out of their monasteries, imprisoned, tortured, and branded for life as "splittists.”
“Let me move on quickly to this Republican proposal that some conservatives want but some are calling a litmus test -- ten points.”
“I want to talk about this so-called litmus test that Republicans, conservatives are being asked to take.”
“Mr. Kennedy will probably get to cast the deciding vote in a host of so-called litmus-test cases this fall, and most prominent among them could be the court's revisiting of detainee rights at Guantanamo Bay.”
“It is easy to forget that, on so-called litmus-test issues, McCain has remained a safe Republican vote distinctly in tune with the hard right of his own party and constituents.”
“If the ore is strictly neutral the quantity of "acid" required to redden the litmus will be the same as the quantity of "soda" originally used.”
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Looking for tweets for litmus.