06 February 2009


picric: Lovable for its obscurity if not for its similarity to dining al fresco is this little gift from a recent Harper's magazine article about David Foster Wallace. Michael Pietsch says it "Means 'yellowish.'" (Harper's Magazine January 2009 p. 26, "Always Another Word.")


Picric Pi"cric, a. [Gr. ? bitter.] (Chem.)
Pertaining to, or designating, a strong organic acid (called
picric acid), intensely bitter.
[1913 Webster]

Note: Picric acid is obtained by treating phenol with strong
nitric acid, as a brilliant yellow crystalline
substance, C6H2(NO2)3.OH. It is used in dyeing silk
and wool, and also in the manufacture of explosives, as
it is very unstable when heated. Called also
trinitrophenol, and formerly carbazotic acid.
[1913 Webster]

-- From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48

No comments:

Post a Comment