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mercury


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n. a silvery metallic element that is liquid at room temperature. Its toxicity caused a decline in the use of its compounds in medicine during the 20th century; mercurial compounds were formerly used in the treatment of syphilis and as purgatives, teething pastes and powders, fungicides, and antiparasitic agents. Mercury is still widely used in dentistry as a component of amalgam fillings; when the mercury is combined with the filling alloy, it is nontoxic. Symbol: Hg. See also mercurialism, pink disease.

Subjects: Medicine and Health — Science and Mathematics.


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