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calamine

[kal-uh-mahyn, -min]
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noun
  1. a pink, water-insoluble powder consisting of zinc oxide and about 0.5 percent ferric oxide, used in ointments, lotions, or the like, for the treatment of inflammatory conditions of the skin.
  2. Mineralogy. hemimorphite.
  3. Chiefly British. smithsonite.
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Origin of calamine

1595–1605; < Medieval Latin calamīna, unexplained alteration of Latin cadmia cadmium; see -ine1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for calamine

Historical Examples

  • Three parts of copper were used for three of calamine and two of charcoal.

    A Dictionary of Arts, Manufactures and Mines

    Andrew Ure

  • Early brass was copper mixed with calamine melted in a crucible.

  • Smithsonite is a carbonate much resembling, and often found with, calamine.

    The A B C of Mining

    Charles A. Bramble

  • The systematic distillation of zinc from calamine was not discovered in Europe until the 18th Century.

    De Re Metallica

    Georgius Agricola

  • Calamine, kal′a-mīn, n. an ore consisting essentially of carbonate of zinc.


British Dictionary definitions for calamine

calamine

noun
  1. a pink powder consisting of zinc oxide and ferric oxide, (iron(III) oxide), used medicinally in the form of soothing lotions or ointments
  2. US another name for smithsonite, hemimorphite
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Word Origin

C17: from Old French, from Medieval Latin calamīna, from Latin cadmīa; see cadmium
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 calamine

n.

zinc carbonate; zinc silicate, 1590s, from French calamine, from Old French calemine, chalemine (13c.), from Medieval Latin calamina, corrupted by alchemists from Latin cadmia "zinc ore," from Greek kadmeia (see cadmium). Or possibly the Medieval Latin word is from Latin calamus "reed," in reference to the mineral's shape.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

calamine in Medicine

calamine

(kălə-mīn′, -mĭn)
n.
  1. A pink, odorless, tasteless powder of zinc oxide with a small amount of ferric oxide, dissolved in mineral oils and used in skin lotions.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.