[klawr-uh-fawrm, klohr-]


Also called trichloromethane. Chemistry, Pharmacology. a colorless, volatile, nonflammable, slightly water-soluble, pungent, sweet-tasting liquid, CHCl3, usually derived from acetone, acetaldehyde, or ethyl alcohol by the reaction of chloride of lime: used chiefly in medicine as a solvent and formerly as an anesthetic.

verb (used with object)

to administer chloroform to, especially in order to anesthetize, make unconscious, or kill.
to put chloroform on (a cloth, object, etc.).

Origin of chloroform

First recorded in 1830–40; chloro-2 + form(yl)
Related formschlo·ro·for·mic, adjectivepre·chlo·ro·form, verb (used with object) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for chloroform

anesthetic, kill, solvent, toxin, poison

Examples from the Web for chloroform

Contemporary Examples of chloroform

  • In addition, air tests from the trunk showing high levels of chloroform are expected.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Case Against Casey

    Diane Dimond

    May 22, 2011

Historical Examples of chloroform

  • But the manufacturer was thinking of other things than chloroform.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • The railway and the telegraph, chloroform and applied electricity.

  • Ants show similar symptoms after narcosis by means of chloroform.

    Criminal Man

    Gina Lombroso-Ferrero

  • "I guess you won't have to chloroform us to drag us there this time," she retorted.

    Miss Pat at School

    Pemberton Ginther

  • I got to go to the drug-store and get some chloroform liniment.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

British Dictionary definitions for chloroform



a heavy volatile liquid with a sweet taste and odour, used as a solvent and cleansing agent and in refrigerants: formerly used as an inhalation anaesthetic. Formula: CHCl 3Systematic name: trichloromethane

Word Origin for chloroform

C19: from chloro- + form (yl) (in an obsolete sense that applied to a CH radical)
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 chloroform

"trichloromethane," volatile liquid used as an anaesthetic, 1835, from French chloroforme, a hybrid coined 1834 by French chemist Jean-Baptiste Dumas (1800-1884) from chlor-, comb. form meaning "chlorine" + formique "formic (acid)" (see formic (adj.)). As a verb, from 1848, the year its anaesthetic properties were discovered. Related: Chloroformed.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

chloroform in Medicine




A clear, colorless, heavy, sweet-smelling liquid used sometimes as a general anesthetic; it has generally been replaced by less toxic, more easily controlled agents.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

chloroform in Science



A colorless, toxic, sweet-tasting liquid formed by combining methane with chlorine. It is used as a solvent and was once widely used as an anesthetic. Chemical formula: CHCl3.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.