• synonyms


[klawr-uh l, klohr-]
  1. Also called trichloroacetaldehyde, trichloroacetic acid aldehyde. a colorless, oily liquid, C2Cl3HO, having a pungent odor, usually derived by the chlorination of ethyl alcohol or of acetaldehyde and combining with water to form chloral hydrate.
  2. Also called chloral hydrate. Pharmacology. a white, crystalline solid, C2H3Cl3O2, formed by combining liquid chloral with water: used as a hypnotic.
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Origin of chloral

First recorded in 1825–35; chlor-2 + -al3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for chloral

Historical Examples of chloral

  • He said the chloral he had taken daring the journey was upon him, and he could not see.

    Recollections of Dante Gabriel Rossetti

    T. Hall Caine

  • But when the chloral was stoutly met at last, it was too late.

  • On the table where she had placed the lamp was a tiny bottle marked "chloral."

    Peak and Prairie

    Anna Fuller

  • Bromide of potassium in combination with chloral has been recommended.

  • Give ether or chloroform by inhalation, and chloral internally.

    Housekeeping in Old Virginia

    Marion Cabell Tyree

British Dictionary definitions for chloral


  1. a colourless oily liquid with a pungent odour, made from chlorine and acetaldehyde and used in preparing chloral hydrate and DDT; trichloroacetaldehyde
  2. short for chloral hydrate
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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 chloral


colorless liquid formed by the action of chlorine on alcohol, apparently coined by German chemist Justus von Liebig in 1833 from elements from chlorine + alcohol. Later chiefly in chloral hydrate (1874).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper