from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A one-piece, fixed-elevation mortar formerly used to test the strength of gunpowder.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. An apparatus for testing or proving the strength of gunpowder.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An apparatus for testing the explosive force of powders or other explosives.
- n. A spoon used in assaying metals.
- n. A short mortar.
Right quick Haskell called up his eprouvette mortars and put them just beyond the lip of the crater and had them loaded with a scant ounce and a half of powder, since all they had to do was loft the shells fifty feet to where the Federals milled about like a pen of shoats waiting for the hammer between the eyes.
Feeling strange as well, for his recent experience had led him to fear that the mere existence of the Henry repeating rifle or the eprouvette mortar made all talk of spirit immediately antique.
And when a snob came to poison the air, how exquisitely one could annihilate him with showing him his ignorance of claret; and when an epicure dined, how delightfully, as one carried in a turbot, one could test him with the eprouvette positive, or crush him by the eprouvette negative.
Delight was on every face -- it was the moment of the 'eprouvette positive'.
At this sad sight the assembled Cardinals became as pale as death, and a solemn silence reigned in the 'conclave' -- it was the moment of the 'eprouvette negative'; but the 'maitre a'hotel' suddenly turns to one of the attendants, Bring another turbot, 'said he, with the most perfect coolness.
The second appeared, and the eprouvette positive was gloriously renewed. "