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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Corrosive'

Corrosive Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    corrosive adj : of a substance, especially a strong acid; capable of destroying or eating away by chemical action [syn: caustic, erosive, vitriolic] n : a substance having the tendency to cause corrosion (such a strong acids or alkali)
Corrosive Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Corrosive \Cor*ro"sive\, n.
  1. That which has the quality of eating or wearing away gradually. [Corrosives] act either directly, by chemically destroying the part, or indirectly by causing inflammation and gangrene. --Dunglison.
  2. That which has the power of fretting or irritating. Such speeches . . . are grievous corrosives. --Hooker. -- Cor*ro"sive*ly, adv. -- Cor*ro"sive*ness, n.
Corrosive Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Corrosive \Cor*ro"sive\ (k?r-r?"s?v), a. [Cf. F. corrosif.]
  1. Eating away; having the power of gradually wearing, changing, or destroying the texture or substance of a body; as, the corrosive action of an acid. ``Corrosive liquors.'' --Grew. ``Corrosive famine.'' --Thomson.
  2. Having the quality of fretting or vexing. Care is no cure, but corrosive. --Shak. Corrosive sublimate (Chem.), mercuric chloride, HgCl2; so called because obtained by sublimation, and because of its harsh irritating action on the body tissue. Usually it is in the form of a heavy, transparent, crystalline substance, easily soluble, and of an acrid, burning taste. It is a virulent poison, a powerful antiseptic, and an excellent antisyphilitic; called also mercuric bichloride}. It is to be carefully distinguished from calomel, the mild chloride of mercury.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Corrosive'

A corrosive substance is one that will destroy or irreversibly damage another surface or substance with which it comes into contact. The main hazards to people include damage to the eyes, the skin, and the tissue under the skin; inhalation or ingestion of a corrosive substance can damage the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. Exposure results in chemical burn.

The word 'corrosion' is derived from the Latin verb corrodere which means 'to gnaw' indicating how these substances seem to 'gnaw' their way through the flesh. Sometimes the word 'caustic' is used as a synonym but, by convention, 'caustic' generally refers only to strong bases, particularly alkalis, and not to acids, oxidizers, or other non-alkaline corrosives. The term 'acid' is often used imprecisely for all corrosives.

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