from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A white lead pigment, sometimes used in cosmetics.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun White lead; a mixture or compound of hydrate and carbonate of lead, produced by exposing the metal in thin plates to the vapor of vinegar.
  • To wash with ceruse; apply ceruse to as a cosmetic.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun White lead, used as a pigment. See White lead, under white.
  • noun A cosmetic containing white lead.
  • noun (Min.) The native carbonate of lead.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun White lead, a hydrate of lead mixed with carbonate, formerly used as a white pigment, in cosmetics, and for medical purposes.

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

  • noun a poisonous white pigment that contains lead


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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin cērussa.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French céruse, from Latin cērussa.



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  • "He describes several goods being sent by caravan from Guzang to other destinations, most likely Loulan, some 900 miles (1,400 km) away: 'white,' most likely ceruse, a cosmetic with a white lead base; pepper; silver; and 'rysk,' a term whose meaning is not clear. Certain goods traveled great distances: pepper and camphor could be purchased only in Southeast Asia or India, while musk came from the Tibetan border with Gansu."

    --Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 2012), 119

    January 3, 2017