Definitions

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

  • n. A hard indigestible mass of material, such as hair, vegetable fibers, or fruits, found in the stomachs or intestines of animals, especially ruminants, and humans. It was formerly considered to be an antidote to poisons and to possess magic properties.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A mass, usually of hair or undigested vegetable matter, found in an animal's intestines. A hairball.
  • n. An enterolith.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A calculous concretion found in the intestines of certain ruminant animals (as the wild goat, the gazelle, and the Peruvian llama) formerly regarded as an unfailing antidote for poison, and a certain remedy for eruptive, pestilential, or putrid diseases. Hence: Any antidote or panacea.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A name for certain calculi or concretions found in the stomach or intestines of some animals (especially ruminants), formerly supposed to be efficacious in preventing the fatal effects of poison, and still held in estimation in some eastern countries.

Etymologies

Middle English bezear, stone used as antidote to poison, probably from Old French bezahar, gastric or intestinal mass used as antidote to poison, from Arabic bāzahr, from Persian pādzahr : pād-, protector (from Avestan pātar-; see pā- in Indo-European roots) + zahr, poison (from Middle Persian).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Persian پادزهر (pâdzahr, "to expel poison") (In ancient times, bezoars from animals were ground up and ingested as remedies for various maladies and as antidotes to poisons.) (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • There is a famous law-case of James the First's time, in which a goldsmith sold a hundred pounds 'worth of what he called bezoar, which was proved to be false, and the purchaser got a verdict against him.

    Complete Project Gutenberg Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Works

  • Another, chicken-egg sized bezoar is beautifully mounted in an engraved and enameled gold framework that was apparently designed to be suspended from a chain.

    Weird Stones

  • A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons.

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

  • This would be a tragedy because the bezoar is a resilient wild species that crosses readily with domestic goats, and it could pass on its genetic inheritance for heat, drought, and cold tolerance: disease resistance; and other survival qualities.

    1 Microcattle

  • It produces the anti-poison called bezoar stone, (called in the Arabic _Bide El Horrek_, i.e. the testicle of the Horreh.)

    An Account of Timbuctoo and Housa Territories in the Interior of Africa

  • In the East the most celebrated of these stones, since the period of Arabic civilisation, is called a bezoar-stone, "Bezoar" is the Persian word for "antidote," and does not apply only to a stone.

    More Science From an Easy Chair

  • It was called the bezoar stone, and was a concretion chiefly of resinous bile and magnesia, and the rest inert vegetable matter.

    Anecdotes of the Habits and Instinct of Animals

  • It's clear that bezoar stones are now thoroughly explained (like a pearl, bezoar stones - as opposed to another kind of bezoar, like a hairy bezoar - are usually caused by the initial introduction of some irritant into the digestive tract).

    Weird Stones

  • Jónas Pálmason roasts ravens' heads and cracks their skulls in search of the bezoar, a magical stone described by Paracelsus which can heal human ailments and may help in the search for the philosopher's stone.

    From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón - review

  • No more bezoar stones, whatever the blasted things may be!

    WHEN THE HEAVENS FALL

Comments

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  • similar to a trichobezoar, I suppose

    August 22, 2008

  • Probably. People pay plentiful pennies for Potter publications.

    July 26, 2007

  • Perusers of Potter publications are probably plotting pranks as we speak.

    (Yes, I cheated on publications. Whatcha gonna do about it?)

    July 26, 2007

  • Poppycock!

    July 25, 2007

  • Perhaps Potter partygoers are pooped. It's perfectly possible.

    July 25, 2007

  • And pickling peppers, perchance?

    July 25, 2007

  • Yes, the Potter patter is petering out.

    July 25, 2007

  • I'm with u. I'm all Pottered out.

    July 25, 2007

  • More like Harry SNOTTER! Hee hee, I'm so witty. ;-)

    July 25, 2007

  • Harry Potter uses one of these in book six. (Sorry u, it's not over yet.)

    July 25, 2007

  • February 26, 2007

  • Sounds like something that would kill you before the poison did. Blecch.

    February 21, 2007

  • I'm not familiar with the lord-satrap aspect, but it seems remiss not to mention the physical properties of a bezoar:

    a hard indigestible mass of material, such as hair, vegetable fibers, or fruits, found in the stomachs or intestines of animals, especially ruminants, and humans. It was formerly considered to be an antidote to poisons and to possess magic properties

    February 21, 2007

  • A related concept is that of mithridatism, which is the building up a tolerance by taking a series of gradually increasing doses over a long period of time until very high doses are tolerated.
    (Warning! Don't try this at home: it works for only certain types of drugs/poisons, depending on the nature of the primary toxicity).
    Mithridatism plays a key role in 'The Princess Bride', also in a very well-known murder mystery by ... well, better not to risk being a spoiler

    February 16, 2007

  • protector from poison (harm): antidote: similar to lord or satrap

    February 11, 2007