Computation, Information, and Description

Department of Computer Science
The University of Iowa

Survey of Mathematical Techniques

The Self-Incrimination Principle

Definition of "antimony"

To be confused with "antinomy." Not to be confused with "arsenic."

From Webster's New World Dictionary.

a silvery-white, brittle, metallic chemical element found only in combination: used in alloys to harden them.

From the Oxford English Dictionary.

antimony [ad. med.L. antimnium, of unknown origin, used by Constantinus Africanus of Salerno (Chaucer's `cursed monk, daun Constantyn,' Merch. T. 566), in end of 11th c., whence also in all the mod. langs.
Prob., like other terms of alchemy, a corruption of some Arabic word, refashioned so as to wear a Gr. or L. aspect-perhaps, as has been suggested, of the Arabic name uthmud, othmod, itself, latinized as athimodium, atimodium, atimonium, antimonium. The earlier form of the Arab. is ithmid, in which Littre suggests an adaptation (quasi isthimmid) of Gr. ot uuio-a variant of ot uui, whence also L. stibium. If this conjecture be substantiated, antimonium and stibium will be transformations of the same word. `Popular etymology' has analyzed Fr. antimoine as vti + moine against the monks (`monks'-bane'), and, as usual in such cases, supported the derivation by an idle tale (see Johnson), making the name originate (more than 400 years too late) with the chemist Basil Valentine, in end of 15th c.]
1 One of the elementary bodies, a brittle metallic substance, of bright bluish white colour and flaky crystalline texture. Its metallic characteristics are less pronounced than those of the metals generally; and it forms the fourth member of the natural series nitrogen, phosphorus, arsenic, antimony, bismuth, and some others, which are in different combinations triads and pentads. Symbol Sb (Stibium).
a Alchem. and Pharm. Originally applied to the native trisulphide (called also gray antimony, or Stibnite; or when calcined and powdered, crude or black antimony), the ot uui, ot Bi, n>atu o0a>-uov, stibium of the ancients, and al-koh'l of the Arabs, used to stain the eyelids (see ALCOHOL); the antimonium, proteus, leo ruber, plumbum nigrum, lupus metallorum of the alchemists. butter of antimony, an old name of the trichloride, `a translucent fatty mass'; crocus of antimony, an impure sulphide of antimony and sodium, formed as a scoria in smelting antimony; flowers of antimony, crystals of the trioxide formed when the metal is sublimed; glass of antimony, an oxy-sulphide fused; saffron of antimony = red antimony (see 2). 1477 NORTON Ord. Alch. in Ashm. 1652 iii. 39 Is Antimony, Arsenick, Honey, Wax and Wine. 1585 LLOYD Treas. Health D ij, A lyke vertue hath Antimonium, receyuyd wyth water. 1605 TIMME Quersit. xiii. 58 From this tree of Saturne springeth antimony, as the first branch of the stock which the phylosophers cal their magnesia. 1646 SIR T. BROWNE Pseud. Ep. 53 Stibium or glasse of Antimony, appears somewhat red in glasse, but in its powder yellow. 1689 Gazophyl. Angl., Antimony, a famous Mineral amongst Chymists..It certainly comes from the Arab Atimad, signifying the same. 1751 CHAMBERS Cycl., Antimony is what we properly call a semi-metal, being a fossil substance composed of some undertermined metal, combined with a sulphurous and stony substance. Sometimes there are veins of a red or golden colour intermixed, from which it is called male antimony; that without them being denominated female.
b Chem. The simple element. (Called by earlier chemists regulus of antimony.) 1788 HOWARD Encycl. 133 Pure regulus of antimony is a bright semimetal resembling tin or dusky silver. It is one of the lightest of the metallic bodies. 1812 DAVY Chem. Philos. 400 Basil Valentine is the first chemist who has described the process of extracting antimony from the sulphuret, though it does not appear that he was the inventor of this process. 1866 RUSKIN Ethics of Dust 77 Sulphide of antimony..looks like mere purple wool, but it is all of purple needle crystals. 1875 URE Dict. Arts I. 196 Native Antimony is a mineral of a tin-white colour and streak, and of a metallic lustre. 1879 Academy 27 Dec. 467 [Wurtz] asserts that although antimony is usually regarded as a metal, it must, in a true chemical classification, find its place by the side of arsenic, phosphorus, and nitrogen.
2 with qualifications: arsenical antimony, the mineral Allemontite; gray antimony, the native sulphide of antimony, called as a mineral Stibnite or Antimonite; red antimony, the mineral Kermesite, a compound of the oxide and sulphide; white antimony, antimony trioxide, the mineral Valentinite; sulphurated antimony, the sulphide with a small admixture of the oxide, used in medicine; tartarated antimony, tartar emetic.
3 attrib., as in antimony oxide, sulphide, ores, etc. spec. antimony blende = red antimony; antimony bloom = white antimony; antimony glance = gray antimony (see 2); antimony ochre, the mineral Cervantite; antimony vermilion, a red pigment precipitated from an antimonial solution. 1860 PIESSE Lab. Chem. Wond. 80 The antimony mines are chiefly in Hungary, Transylvania and Germany. 1863 WATTS Dict. Chem. I. 311 Antimony is found in combination with oxygen, viz. as trioxide, in the form of antimony bloom, white antimony, or Valentinite, Sb[2]O[3], and as tetroxide, antimony ochre or Cervantite, Sb[2]O[4]. 1875 URE Dict. Arts I. 195 Antimony Glance..sometimes occurs compact, but usually in very long prismatic or acicular crystals, or in a fibrous form.

Last modified: 19 December 1996 Maintained by Michael J. O'Donnell, email: [] odonnell@cs.uchicago.edu