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[klawr-uh-fawrm, klohr-] /ˈklɔr əˌfɔrm, ˈkloʊr-/
Also called trichloromethane. Chemistry, Pharmacology. a colorless, volatile, nonflammable, slightly water-soluble, pungent, sweet-tasting liquid, CHCl 3 , usually derived from acetone, acetaldehyde, or ethyl alcohol by the reaction of chloride of lime: used chiefly in medicine as a solvent and formerly as an anesthetic.
verb (used with object)
to administer chloroform to, especially in order to anesthetize, make unconscious, or kill.
to put chloroform on (a cloth, object, etc.).
Origin of chloroform
First recorded in 1830-40; chloro-2 + form(yl)
Related forms
chloroformic, adjective
prechloroform, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for chloroform


a heavy volatile liquid with a sweet taste and odour, used as a solvent and cleansing agent and in refrigerants: formerly used as an inhalation anaesthetic. Formula: CHCl3 Systematic name trichloromethane
Word Origin
C19: from chloro- + form(yl) (in an obsolete sense that applied to a CH radical)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for chloroform

"trichloromethane," volatile liquid used as an anaesthetic, 1835, from French chloroforme, a hybrid coined 1834 by French chemist Jean-Baptiste Dumas (1800-1884) from chlor-, comb. form meaning "chlorine" + formique "formic (acid)" (see formic (adj.)). As a verb, from 1848, the year its anaesthetic properties were discovered. Related: Chloroformed.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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chloroform in Medicine

chloroform chlo·ro·form (klôr'ə-fôrm')
A clear, colorless, heavy, sweet-smelling liquid used sometimes as a general anesthetic; it has generally been replaced by less toxic, more easily controlled agents.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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chloroform in Science
A colorless, toxic, sweet-tasting liquid formed by combining methane with chlorine. It is used as a solvent and was once widely used as an anesthetic. Chemical formula: CHCl3.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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