• synonyms


[klawr-uh-fawrm, klohr-]
See more synonyms for chloroform on Thesaurus.com
  1. 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.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to administer chloroform to, especially in order to anesthetize, make unconscious, or kill.
  2. to put chloroform on (a cloth, object, etc.).
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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)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

anesthetic, kill, solvent, toxin, poison

Examples from the Web for chloroform

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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


  1. 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
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Word Origin

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

chloroform in Medicine


  1. 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.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

chloroform in Science


  1. 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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.