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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for chloroform
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The slightest novels are a blessing to those in distress, not chloroform itself a greater.

    Essays in the Art of Writing Robert Louis Stevenson
  • I shall give him chloroform, for I do not wish him to suffer any pain.

    The Champdoce Mystery Emile Gaboriau
  • Specimens should be killed by chloroform as described for the toad, p. 5.

  • I caught a whiff of its odour—an odour too familiar to me—the sickly smell of chloroform.

    The Seven Secrets William Le Queux
  • Dr. Campbell wanted to give him chloroform as it would be very painful.

  • His ears rung as in the overture to the swooning dream of chloroform.

    Elsie Venner Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • Put a few drops of chloroform on a piece of cotton under a tumbler turned upside down.

    Little Busybodies Jeanette Augustus Marks and Julia Moody
  • Imagination, deep thought and grief are as much anaesthetic as chloroform.

    Second Sight Sepharial
  • But when those others were the kind who went in for chloroform—and this time there was Doris to think of.

    The Girl in the Mirror Elizabeth Garver Jordan
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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