What Is the Definition of "arsenic"?


Quick Answer

Arsenic is a naturally occurring semi-metal element. Its atomic number is 33, and its only stable isotope has an atomic weight of 74.92. Arsenic has been used since ancient times, but it was first isolated by the German chemist Albertus Magnus in 1250.

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Full Answer

Arsenic gets its name from the Latin word "arsenicum," which means "male" or "virile," according to Wikipedia. The Latin name for arsenic was derived from the earlier Greek "arsenikon," which has the same meaning. Arsenic is highly toxic, which has led to its widespread use in wood preservatives and pesticides. Sub-toxic doses of arsenic have also been used for medical applications since at least the 18th century.

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