litmus

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

1495, earlier lytmos, from Old Norse litmosi (moss used for dyeing), from lita (to dye, stain), from litr (colour, dye, blee), from Proto-Germanic *wlitiz, *wlituz (appearance, blee), from Proto-Indo-European *wel- (to see) + mosi (moss). Cognate with Old English wlite (appearance, form, brightness, countenance). More at moss.

Noun[edit]

litmus (countable and uncountable, plural litmuses)

  1. (uncountable) A dyestuff extracted from certain lichens, that changes color when exposed to pH levels greater than or less than certain critical levels.
  2. A simple test of acidity in a liquid using litmus, usually in the form of litmus paper.
  3. A simple test of any attribute; a litmus test.

Synonyms[edit]

  • (dyestuff from lichen): lacmus

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