AskDefine | Define antimonial

Dictionary Definition

antimonial adj
1 of or containing antimony
2 containing antimony; "antimonial lead"

Extensive Definition

Antimonials, in pre-modern medicine, were remedies principally containing antimony, used chiefly for emetic purposes. They might also have qualified for cathartic, diaphoretic, or simply alterative uses. Such treatments were considered unparalleled in their strength.


  • The following passage from Oliver Twist, published between 18371839, illustrates the use of the word antimonial to mean emetic in common (as well as medical) terms:
Bumble shook his head, as he replied, "Obstinate people, Mr. Sowerberry; very obstinate. Proud, too, I'm afraid, sir."
"Proud, eh?" exclaimed Mr. Sowerberry with a sneer. "Come, that's too much."
"Oh, it's sickening," replied the beadle. "Antimonial, Mr. Sowerberry!"
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