Definitions

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

  • n. Direct-current electricity, especially when produced chemically. Also called voltaism.
  • n. Therapeutic application of direct-current electricity, especially the electric stimulation of nerves and muscle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The chemical generation of electricity.
  • n. The therapeutic use of electricity.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Electricity excited by the mutual action of certain liquids and metals; dynamical electricity.
  • n. The branch of physical science which treats of dynamical elecricity, or the properties and effects of electrical currents.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. That branch of the science of electricity which treats of electric currents more especially as arising from chemical action, as from the combination of metals with acids.
  • n. In medicine, the application of an electric current from a number of cells: in distinction from faradism or the use of a series of brief alternating currents from an induction-coil, and from franklinism or the charging from a frictional or Holtz machine.

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

  • n. the therapeutic application of electricity to the body (as in the treatment of various forms of paralysis)
  • n. electricity produced by chemical action

Etymologies

After Luigi Galvani.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French galvanisme, after physiologist Luigi Alyisio Galvani (1737–1798) + -isme. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • This action was long called galvanism, after this observer, not, however, that he was absolutely the first to notice a fact of which he was but a re-discoverer -- Swammerdam as long ago as 1658 having observed such motions.

    The Common Frog

  • Once he heard a lecture on the impossibility of applying steam navigation to the ocean; at another time he saw the principle of "galvanism" illustrated with a small battery, but the impracticability of its use for industrial purposes on account of the high cost of mercury was pointed out.

    Military reminiscences of Gen. Wm. R. Boggs, C.S.A.,

  • English speakers borrowed the word as "galvanism" in 1797; the verb "galvanize" was introduced in 1802.

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

  • On this occasion a man of great research in natural philosophy was with us, and, excited by this catastrophe, he entered on the explanation of a theory which he had formed on the subject of electricity and galvanism, which was at once new and astonishing to me.

    Chapter 2

  • The power of electricity or of galvanism wasn't as important as their galvanizing aftereffects, the startling fact that these effects staged the human as a radical dis-placement in the world.

    Introduction

  • He even gave himself up, half amused by its bizarre eccentricities, to the influence of this moral galvanism; its phenomena, closely connected with his last thoughts, assured him that he was still alive.

    The Magic Skin

  • Those who saw him felt drawn to him by that attraction of the moral nature which men of science are happily unable to analyze; they would detect in it some phenomenon of galvanism, or the current of I know not what fluid, and express our sentiments in a formula of ratios of oxygen and electricity.

    The Purse

  • Perhaps a corpse would be re-animated; galvanism had given token of such things: perhaps the component parts of a creature might be manufactured, brought together, and endued with vital warmth.

    Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus

  • On this occasion a man of great research in natural philosophy was with us, and excited by this catastrophe, he entered on the explanation of a theory which he had formed on the subject of electricity and galvanism, which was at once new and astonishing to me.

    Frankenstein

  • Any part, being subjected to a slight shock of galvanism, became almost black: a similar effect, but in a less degree, was produced by scratching the skin with a needle.

    Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by H.M.S. Beagle

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