1. Symbol HgA silvery-white poisonous metallic element, liquid at room temperature and used in thermometers, barometers, vapor lamps, and batteries and in the preparation of chemical pesticides. Atomic number 80; atomic weight 200.59; melting point -38.83°C; boiling point 356.62°C; specific gravity 13.546 (at 20°C); valence 1, 2.Also called quicksilver. See Periodic Table.
2. Temperature:The mercury had fallen rapidly by morning.
3. Any of several weedy plants of the genera Mercurialis and Acalypha.
[Middle Englishmercurie, fromMedieval Latinmercurius, fromLatinMercurius, Mercury.]
(click for a larger image)
(click for a larger image)Mercury
top: detail from a ceiling fresco by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
bottom: false-color image of the planet Mercury
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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