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mordant

[mawr-dnt]
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adjective
  1. sharply caustic or sarcastic, as wit or a speaker; biting.
  2. burning; corrosive.
  3. having the property of fixing colors, as in dyeing.
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noun
  1. a substance used in dyeing to fix the coloring matter, especially a metallic compound, as an oxide or hydroxide, that combines with the organic dye and forms an insoluble colored compound or lake in the fiber.
  2. an adhesive substance for binding gold or silver leaf to a surface.
  3. an acid or other corrosive substance used in etching to eat out the lines, areas, etc.
  4. Music. mordent.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to impregnate or treat with a mordant.
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Origin of mordant

1425–75; late Middle English < Middle French, present participle of mordre to bite ≪ Latin mordēre; see -ant
Related formsmor·dant·ly, adverbun·mor·dant, adjectiveun·mor·dant·ly, adverb

Synonyms

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1. cutting, stinging, acerbic, scathing.

mordent

or mor·dant

[mawr-dnt]
noun Music.
  1. a melodic embellishment consisting of a rapid alternation of a principal tone with the tone a half or a whole step below it, called single or short when the auxiliary tone occurs once and double or long when this occurs twice or more.
  2. inverted mordent.
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Origin of mordent

1800–10; < German < Italian mordente biting < Latin mordent-, stem of mordēns, present participle of mordēre to bite; see -ent
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mordant

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • What are the products of hydrolysis when stannic chloride is used as a mordant?

  • Tin is not so useful as a mordant in itself, but as a modifying agent with other mordants.

    Vegetable Dyes

    Ethel M. Mairet

  • No mordant is needed, and the colours produced are the fastest known.

    Vegetable Dyes

    Ethel M. Mairet

  • Some mordant the wool first with alum, but it does not seem to need it.

    Vegetable Dyes

    Ethel M. Mairet

  • It is one of the substantive colours and does not need any mordant.

    Vegetable Dyes

    Ethel M. Mairet


British Dictionary definitions for mordant

mordant

adjective
  1. sarcastic or caustic
  2. having the properties of a mordant
  3. pungent
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noun
  1. a substance used before the application of a dye, possessing the ability to fix colours in textiles, leather, etcSee also lake 2 (def. 1)
  2. an acid or other corrosive fluid used to etch lines on a printing plate
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verb
  1. (tr) to treat (a fabric, yarn, etc) with a mordant
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Derived Formsmordancy, nounmordantly, adverb

Word Origin

C15: from Old French: biting, from mordre to bite, from Latin mordēre

mordent

noun
  1. music a melodic ornament consisting of the rapid alternation of a note with a note one degree lower than itAlso called: lower mordent
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Word Origin

C19: from German, from Italian mordente, from mordere to bite
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

Word Origin and History for mordant

adj.

late 15c., "caustic" (of words, speech), from Middle French mordant, literally "biting," present participle of mordre "to bite," from Latin mordere "to bite, bite into; nip, sting;" figuratively "to pain, cause hurt," perhaps from PIE root mer- (2) "to rub away, harm" (see smart (v.)). Related: Mordantly. The noun sense in dyeing is first recorded 1791; the adjective in this sense is from 1902. Related: Mordancy; mordantly.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mordant in Medicine

mordant

(môrdnt)
adj.
  1. Serving to fix colors in dyeing.
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n.
  1. A reagent, such as tannic acid, that fixes dyes to cells, tissues, or other materials.
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v.
  1. To treat with a mordant.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.