• synonyms

aqua fortis

noun Chemistry.
  1. nitric acid.
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Origin of aqua fortis

1595–1605; < Latin: literally, strong water
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for aqua fortis

Historical Examples

  • Place the mud in a glass vessel, and pour on it some nitric acid (aqua-fortis).

    The Sea Shore

    William S. Furneaux

  • How often did I wish the flask ten times its size, and filled with aqua-fortis!

  • He has a forehead of native brass, and I will write upon it with aqua-fortis.

  • We are told that some aqua-fortis having fallen by accident upon his spectacles, the glass was corroded by it.

  • How the simperers would sheer off; the tea that night might as well be made of aqua-fortis.


    W. Gilmore Simms

British Dictionary definitions for aqua fortis

aqua fortis

  1. an obsolete name for nitric acid
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Word Origin

C17: from Latin, literally: strong water
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 aqua fortis


old name for "concentrated nitric acid," c.1600, Latin, literally "strong water;" see aqua- + fort. So called for its power of dissolving metals (copper, silver) unaffected by other agents.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper