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90s Slang You Should Know


[kwik-sil-ver] /ˈkwɪkˌsɪl vər/
the metallic element mercury.
verb (used with object)
to amalgamate (metal) with mercury.
Origin of quicksilver
before 1000; Middle English qwyksilver, Old English cwicseolfor (translation Latin argentum vīvum) literally, living silver
Related forms
quicksilvery, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for quicksilver
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The very virulence of their denunciation was as quicksilver poured upon the glass of their envy.

    Sir Charles Napier Sir William Francis Butler
  • The quicksilver clings to the gold and forms an amalgam with it.

    A Boy's Voyage Round the World The Son of Samuel Smiles
  • See where the glass is flawed—the quicksilver must be pretty nearly all gone from the backs of them.

    The Abandoned Farmers Irvin S. Cobb
  • Eyebright's spirits were mounting as rapidly as quicksilver.

    Eyebright Susan Coolidge
  • In 1720 he effected a great improvement by the use of quicksilver instead of spirits of wine in thermometers.

British Dictionary definitions for quicksilver


another name for mercury (sense 1)
rapid or unpredictable in movement or change: a quicksilver temper
Word Origin
Old English, from cwicu alive (see quick) + seolfer silver
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 quicksilver

Old English cwicseolfor, literally "living silver," translating Latin argentum vivum (cf. Italian argento vivo), literally "living silver;" so called from its liquid mobility. See quick (adj.) + silver (n.). Cf. Dutch kwikzilver, Old High German quecsilbar, German quecksilber, French vif-argent, Italian argenta viva.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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