white lead

EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit

EtymologyEdit

In the sense of tin, calque of Latin plumbum album (tin, literally white lead) already used before our era, as well as plumbum candidum (tin, literally white-shining lead) and Arabic رَصَاص أَبْيَض(raṣāṣ ʾabyaḍ, tin, literally white lead), distinguished from plumbum nigrum (lead, literally black lead) / رَصَاص أَسْوَد(raṣāṣ ʾaswad, lead, literally black lead), as tin and lead were improperly distinguished before modernity.

NounEdit

 
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white lead (uncountable)

  1. (obsolete) tin, golden marcasite
    • 1671, Webster, John, Metallographia: Or, an history of metals., London, page 271:
      It is not amiſs here to give the differences betwixt white Lead, or Tin, Biſmuth, Tin-glaſs, or aſh-coloured Lead, and this common Lead, which they call black Lead;
  2. A basic lead carbonate formerly widely used for a white pigment in paint.
    Synonyms: lead white, flake white, silver white, slate white, Berlin white, Cremnitz white/Kremnitz white, Crems white/Krems white, Nottingham white, Vienna white
    • 1938, Norman Lindsay, Age of Consent, Sydney: Ure Smith, published 1962, page 40:
      The beginning of a new episode of work for Bradly was an agitated niggling over six-by-four squares of cardboard coated with size and white lead, prepared by himself to save an experimental waste of canvas.

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