litmus


litmus

litmus [lit-muh s] ExamplesWord Origin noun

  1. a blue coloring matter obtained from certain lichens, especially Roccella tinctoria. In alkaline solution litmus turns blue, in acid solution, red: widely used as a chemical indicator.

Origin of litmus 1495–1505; earlier lytmos Old Norse litmosi dye-moss, equivalent to lit- color, dye + mosi moss Examples from the Web for litmus Contemporary Examples of litmus

  • But when did they become the litmus test of competence in office?

    100 Years of Right (And Left) Moves

    Robert Shrum

    March 31, 2014

  • So they are a litmus paper for wider fertility—not a significant driver of Israeli birthrates.

    Israel’s Sperm Clinic Crisis

    Alastair Sloan

    March 16, 2014

  • Opposition to the Affordable Care Act in toto might linger as a litmus test for conservatives.

    Everything is Obamacare!

    Jamelle Bouie

    March 3, 2014

  • The right-wing base and media will make it a litmus test issue.

    Could a Larger Minimum Wage Hike Sell?

    Michael Tomasky

    November 13, 2013

  • The Veterans of Foreign Wars organized an Americanization committee that promoted the song as a litmus test of loyalty.

    Star-Spangled Confederates: How Southern Sympathizers Decided Our National Anthem

    Jefferson Morley

    July 4, 2013

  • Historical Examples of litmus

  • Dip your litmus paper first into one, then into the other, and then back into the first.

    Common Science

    Carleton W. Washburne

  • It is represented as a more delicate test of acid and alkalis than litmus.

    Field’s Chromatography

    George Field

  • Pour off the alcohol, leaving the litmus as dry as possible.

    The Elements of Bacteriological Technique

    John William Henry Eyre

  • The free alkaloid is soluble in water, but has no action on litmus.

    Poisons: Their Effects and Detection

    Alexander Wynter Blyth

  • “Like litmus paper under the influence of an acid,” explains Guncotton.

    My Austrian Love

    Maxime Provost

  • British Dictionary definitions for litmus litmus noun

    1. a soluble powder obtained from certain lichens. It turns red under acid conditions and blue under basic conditions and is used as an indicator

    Word Origin for litmus C16: perhaps from Scandinavian; compare Old Norse litmosi, from litr dye + mosi moss Word Origin and History for litmus n.

    “blue dye-stuff obtained from certain lichens,” early 14c., from Middle Dutch lijkmoes (Dutch lakmoes), from lac (see lac) + moes “pulp.” Another theory is that it represents Old Norse litmose, literally “lichen for dying,” from Old Norse lita “to dye, to stain,” from litr “color, dye” (see lit (n.1)) + mos “moss.” Yet another idea connects the first element to Middle Dutch leken “to drip, leak” (see leak (v.)).

    Whichever was the original word, it probably was influenced by the others. The dye is obtained from certain lichens. It is naturally blue but turns red in acid and is restored to blue by alkalis. Figurative use of litmus test is first attested 1957, from scientific use of litmus-treated paper as a chemical indicator. Litmus paper with this meaning is from 1803.

    litmus in Medicine litmus [lĭt′məs] n.

    1. A water-soluble blue powder derived from lichens that changes to red with increasing acidity and to blue with increasing basicity.

    litmus in Science litmus [lĭt′məs]

    1. A colored powder, obtained from certain lichens, that changes to red in an acid solution and to blue in an alkaline solution. Litmus is a mixture of various closely related heterocyclic organic compounds.♦ Litmus is typically added to paper to make litmus paper, which can be used to determine whether a solution is basic or acidic by dipping a strip of the paper into the solution and seeing how the paper changes color.

    litmus in Culture litmus [(lit-muhs)]

    In chemistry, a kind of paper used to tell whether a solution is an acid or a base. Acids turn blue litmus paper red; bases turn red litmus paper blue. Other testing paper or sophisticated instruments can be used to measure the pH of a solution more precisely.

    Note The term litmus is often used to refer to a general and simple test: “Your vote on this issue is a litmus test of your political philosophy.”

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