Jan. 10th, 2017


Jan. 10th, 2017 08:23 am
prettygoodword: text: words are sexy (words are sexy)
vitriol (vi-TREE-uhl) - n., sulfuric acid (H2SO4); any of several metal sulfates, such as as green vitriol (iron sulfate), blue vitriol (copper sulfate), red vitriol (cobalt sulfate), and so on; something highly caustic, either physically like an acid or mentally like abusive criticism. v., to treat with or dip into dilute vitriol; to subject to bitter verbal abuse.

The chemical meanings are not in current use, but for sulfuric acid itself was still understood by chemists not too long ago. The metal sulfates are actually the original meaning, and get their name from their glassy appearance -- the root being Latin vitrum, glass, and the acid that created them was called vitriolum. First used in English in the 14th century, I'm guessing by either metallurgists or alchemists.


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