mercury

Definitions

  • "I would be strikin' as Mercury, but I think I would be at my best as Apollo."
    "I would be strikin' as Mercury, but I think I would be at my best as Apollo."
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n mercury temperature measured by a mercury thermometer "the mercury was falling rapidly"
    • n Mercury the smallest planet and the nearest to the sun
    • n Mercury (Roman mythology) messenger of Jupiter and god of commerce; counterpart of Greek Hermes
    • n mercury a heavy silvery toxic univalent and bivalent metallic element; the only metal that is liquid at ordinary temperatures
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Additional illustrations & photos:

ORBITS OF MARS, THE EARTH, VENUS, AND MERCURY ORBITS OF MARS, THE EARTH, VENUS, AND MERCURY
Dog's Mercury Dog's Mercury

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: If you were standing on Mercury, the Sun would appear 2.5 times larger than it appears from Earth
    • Mercury A carrier of tidings; a newsboy; a messenger; hence, also, a newspaper. "The monthly Mercuries ."
    • Mercury (Rom. Myth) A Latin god of commerce and gain; -- treated by the poets as identical with the Greek Hermes, messenger of the gods, conductor of souls to the lower world, and god of eloquence.
    • Mercury (Chem) A metallic element mostly obtained by reduction from cinnabar, one of its ores. It is a heavy, opaque, glistening liquid (commonly called quicksilver), and is used in barometers, thermometers, etc. Specific gravity 13.6. Symbol Hg (Hydrargyrum). Atomic weight 199.8. Mercury has a molecule which consists of only one atom. It was named by the alchemists after the god Mercury, and designated by his symbol, ☿.
    • Mercury (Bot) A plant (Mercurialis annua), of the Spurge family, the leaves of which are sometimes used for spinach, in Europe.
    • Mercury (Astron) One of the planets of the solar system, being the one nearest the sun, from which its mean distance is about 36,000,000 miles. Its period is 88 days, and its diameter 3,000 miles.
    • Mercury Sprightly or mercurial quality; spirit; mutability; fickleness. "He was so full of mercury that he could not fix long in any friendship, or to any design."
    • v. t Mercury To wash with a preparation of mercury.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Astronomers once believed a planet named Vulcan existed between Mercury and the Sun
    • n mercury In Roman mythology, the name of a Roman divinity, who became identified with the Greek Hermes. He was the son of Jupiter and Maia, and was the herald and ambassador of Jupiter. As a god of darkness, Mercury is the tutelary deity of thieves and tricksters; he became also the protector of herdsmen, and the god of science, commerce, and the arts and graces of life, and the patron of travelers and athletes. It was he who guided the shades of the dead to their final abiding-place. He is represented in art as a young man, usually wearing a winged hat and the talaria or winged sandals, and bearing the caduceus or pastoral staff and often a purse.
    • n mercury [lowercase or cap.] Pl. mercuries (-riz). One who acts like the god Mercury in his capacity of a messenger; a conveyor of news or information; an intelligencer.
    • n mercury Hence [lowercase or cap.] A common name for a newspaper or periodical publication; formerly, also, a newspaper-carrier or a seller of newspapers.
    • n mercury [lowercase] Warmth or liveliness of temperament; spirit; sprightly qualities; hence, liability to change; fickleness.
    • n mercury The innermost planet of the solar system. Its mean distance from the sun is 0.387 that of the earth. The inclination (7 degrees) and the eccentricity (0.2056) of its orbit are exceeded only by some of the minor planets. Its diameter is only 3,000 miles, or about of that of the earth; its volume is to that of the earth as 1 to 18.5. It performs its sidereal revolution in 88 days, its synodical in 116. Its proximity to the sun prevents its being often seen with the naked eye. The mass of Mercury, though as yet not very precisely determined, is less than that of any other planet (asteroids excepted). According to Schiaparelli it rotates on its axis in the same way as the moon does, once in each orbital revolution.
    • n mercury [lowercase] Chemical symbol, Hg; atomic weight, 200.1. A metal of a silver-white color and brilliant metallic luster, unique in that it is fluid at ordinary temperatures. It becomes solid, or freezes, at about—40, and crystallizes in the isornetric system. Its specific gravity at 0 is 13.6; when frozen, according to J. W. Mallet, 14.1932. This metal occurs native, sometimes in considerable quantity; but by far the largest supply is obtained from the sulphid, known as cinnabar. (See cinnabar.) Mercury is not very generally disseminated. In the United States only traces of its ores have been found to the east of the Cordilleras. The principal sources of supply are the mines of Almaden in Spain, of New Almaden and others near the Bay of San Francisco, and of Idria in Austria. Its chief use is in the metallurgic treatment of gold and silver ores by amalgamation. The thermometer and barometer are instruments in which the peculiar qualities of this metal are well illustrated. Commercially the most important salts of mercury are mercurous chlorid (Hg2Cl2) or calomel, chiefly used in medicine, and the mercuric chlorid (HgCl2) or corrosive sublimate, a violent poison used in medicine and extensively in surgery as an antiseptic, and as a preservative in dressing skins, etc., being a very powerful antiseptic. The sulphid (HgS), or cinnabar, when prepared artificially, is called vermilion, and is used as a pigment. The names mercury and quicksilver are entirely synonymous, but the former is rather a scientific designation, and one necessarily used in compound names and in the adjective form; while the latter is a common popular designation of this metal. See amalgam, calomel, quicksilver.
    • n mercury [lowercase] A plant of the genus Mercurialis, chiefly M. perennis, the dog's-mercury, locally called Kentish balsam (which see, under Kentish), and M. annua, the annual or French mercury. See Mercurialis.
    • n mercury In older usage, the Chenopodium Bonus-Henricus. See allgood and good-King-Henry. This is the English, false, or wild mercury.
    • n mercury In heraldry, the tincture purple, when blazoning is done by the planets.
    • mercury To wash with a preparation of mercury.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Jupiter's moon Ganymede is the largest moon in the Solar System, and is larger than the planets Mercury and Pluto.
    • n Mercury mėr′kū-ri the god of merchandise and eloquence, and the messenger of the gods: the planet nearest the sun: a white, liquid metal, also called quicksilver: the column of mercury in a thermometer or barometer: a messenger: a newspaper
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Quotations

  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “They are as much for Mars, as for Mercury; as well qualified for war, as for business.”
  • David Hare
    David%20Hare
    “Sudden resolutions, like the sudden rise of mercury in a barometer, indicate little else than the variability of the weather.”

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. Mercurius,; akin to merx, wares
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—L. Mercuriusmerx, mercis, merchandise.

Usage

In literature:

On coming up, we found that the ship was already taken, and the Mercury only accidentally adrift.
"A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume X" by Robert Kerr
I had a print of the Flying Mercury on the wall, at the foot of my bed.
"Tramping on Life" by Harry Kemp
Budha is Mercury, and Sukra is Venus.
"The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 2"
The volatile metals, mercury and arsenic, will, however, sublime without undergoing decomposition.
"A System of Instruction in the Practical Use of the Blowpipe" by Anonymous
Mercury, too, is often added to effect amalgamation of the zinc.
"Cyclopedia of Telephony & Telegraphy Vol. 1" by Kempster Miller
Mercury shines with a white light nearly as bright as Sirius; is always near the horizon.
"Recreations in Astronomy" by Henry Warren
Internally the absorption from ulcers should be promoted first by evacuation, then by opium, bark, mercury, steel.
"Zoonomia, Vol. I" by Erasmus Darwin
Perhaps the Warwickshire Mercuries are not very good.
"The Claverings" by Anthony Trollope
Mercury is one of them.
"Among the Forces" by Henry White Warren
When the spirits of Mercury heard these things, they asked whether such men could become angels.
"Earths In Our Solar System Which Are Called Planets, and Earths In The Starry Heaven Their Inhabitants, And The Spirits And Angels There" by Emanuel Swedenborg
The morning is clear and cold, the mercury at sunrise 22 degrees below 0.
"History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark, Vol. I." by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
Pour mercury into a U-shaped tube until the level of the mercury in the closed end of the tube is the same as the level in the open end.
"General Science" by Bertha M. Clark
Neptune being the first born; Mercury the youngest born.
"The Birth-Time of the World and Other Scientific Essays" by J. (John) Joly
Thus, infancy is governed by the moon, childhood by Mercury, youth by the sun, and so forth.
"A Wanderer in Venice" by E.V. Lucas
Those which were first known are gold, silver, iron, copper, mercury, lead, and tin.
"A Catechism of Familiar Things; Their History, and the Events Which Led to Their Discovery" by Benziger Brothers
We find from 'Dietrichsen' that on this day (at noon) Mercury's R.A. is 6h.
"Half-hours with the Telescope" by Richard A. Proctor
In the winter of 1779-80, the mercury in Fahrenheit's thermometer fell at Williamsburg once to six degrees above zero.
"Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The Papers Of Thomas Jefferson" by Thomas Jefferson
The temperatures were taken by mercurial thermometers registering 600 deg.
"Scientific American Supplement, No. 611, September 17, 1887" by Various
In the evening the mercury still stood about 100 deg..
"Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa Performed in the Years 1850-51, Volume 1" by James Richardson
These are, going from south to north, the palace of Eumachia, the temple of Mercury, the Senate Chamber, and the Pantheon.
"The Wonders of Pompeii" by Marc Monnier
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In poetry:

Jupiter, Aged Diety
Apollo, Aged Diety
Mars, Aged Diety
Diana, Aged Diety
Mercury
"Thespis: Act II" by William Schwenck Gilbert
'Tis known how the permanent never is writ
In blood of the passions: mercurial they,
Shifty their issue: stir not that pit
To the game our brutes best play.
"The Empty Purse--A Sermon To Our Later Prodigal Son" by George Meredith
And as Achilles' fleet the Trojan waters sweeps,
So horror sways the throng,--Pfefferius sleeps!
And stalwart Konnor, though by Mercury inspired,
The Equus Carolus defies, and is retired.
"At The Ball Game" by Roswell Martin Field
My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump an grey as onie grozet:
O for some rank, mercurial rozet,
Or fell, red smeddum,
I'd gie you sic a hearty dose o't,
Wad dress your droddum!
"To A Louse" by Robert Burns
Then fly with me, love, ere the summer's begun,
And the mercury mounts to one hundred and one;
Ere the grass now so green shall be withered and sear,
In the spring that obtains but one month in the year.
"California Madrigal" by Francis Bret Harte
And then he put forth all his strength,
His warmth with might and main exerted,
Till upward in its tube at length
The mercury most nimbly spurted.
Phenomenal the curious sight was,
So swift the rise in Fahrenheit was.
"The Impetuous Breeze And The Diplomatic Sun" by Guy Wetmore Carryl

In news:

Elton John Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting Greatest Hits 1970-2002 Mercury 0:00:00 ().
Scientists are looking at dragonfly larvae from lakes in the Adirondacks and throughout the Northeast as part of a one-year mercury study.
New Tin- and Mercury-Free Organometallic Catalysts for CASE Urethane Applications.
I had a great-aunt who owned a Mercury Montego.
Mercurial Rage take part in the fashionista fun fest at Voltage.
Mercury Method A total-body workout that really turns up the heat, Aly Bockler is breaking a sweat.
Some foods and drinks rich in high- fructose corn syrup maycontain detectable levels of mercury, a new report shows.
Study Finds High- Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury.
I never thought I would write "Oh boy, I'm so glad it's Mercury Retrograde".
Todd Hoffman's '65 Mercury Cyclone.
I hope Mercury's change of direction last night did not make hash of the outcome.
It is notable that at 6:04 pm on Election Day Mercury turns retrograde as the voting on the Eastern seaboard comes to an end.
Mercury rules ballots, tickets, and administrative details.
Mercury, Venus, and Mars, and Saturn are all changing signs while Jupiter is turning retrograde.
The mercurial Nicki Minaj seems to have lost her way on her new album.
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In science:

This measurement is analogous to the perihelion advance of Mercury [182].
Binary and Millisecond Pulsars at the New Millennium
For PSR B1913+16 this amounts to about 4.2 degrees per year [242], some 4.6 orders of magnitude larger than for Mercury. A measurement of ˙ω alone yields the total mass for this system, M = 2.83 M⊙ assuming this advance is due to general relativity.
Binary and Millisecond Pulsars at the New Millennium
Morrison, L. V., and Ward, C. G., “An analysis of the transients of Mercury: 1677– 1973”, Mon.
Binary and Millisecond Pulsars at the New Millennium
The lightly-wound field now originally had many windings between the star and the “Mercury” wall.
The "Extra-Solar Giant Planets" are Brown Dwarfs
The tori are very unstable. A large flare triggers their rapid collapse into one or two brown dwarfs orbiting inside the orbit of “Mercury”.
The "Extra-Solar Giant Planets" are Brown Dwarfs
Superconductivity was discovered in 1911 by Kamerlingh Onnes, who observed an abrupt transition to a resistance-free state in mercury near 4 K , and, since then, there has been a search for materials that become superconducting at higher temperatures.
Quantum Phenomena in Low-Dimensional Systems
This means that, for example, placing Earth in Mercury’s orbit would increase the chance of transit by a factor of 2.5, while moving it to an orbit with a period of 7 days would increase it by a factor of 14.
A rigorous comparison of different planet detection algorithms
Einstein’s general theory of relativity (GR) began with its empirical success in 1915 by explaining the anomalous perihelion precession of Mercury’s orbit, using no adjustable theoretical parameters.
35 Years of Testing Relativistic Gravity: Where do we go from here?
The secular trend of Mercury’s perihelion, when described in the PPN formalism, depends on another linear combination of the PPN parameters γ and β and the quadrupole coefficient J2⊙ of the solar gravity field: λ⊙ = (2 + 2γ − β )/3 + 0.296 × J2⊙ × 104 .
35 Years of Testing Relativistic Gravity: Where do we go from here?
Einstein’s general theory of relativity (GR) began with its empirical success in 1915 by explaining the anomalous perihelion precession of Mercury’s orbit, using no adjustable theoretical parameters.
New Concept for Testing General Relativity: The Laser Astrometric Test of Relativity (LATOR) Mission
There is the long-standing problem of the size of the solar quadrupole moment and its possible effect on the relativistic perihelion precession of Mercury (see review in ).
New Concept for Testing General Relativity: The Laser Astrometric Test of Relativity (LATOR) Mission
For Mercury, it was well known that the observed perihelion advance was in discrepancy with the value calculated on the basis of Newtonian mechanics, and this anomaly was the most prominent quantitative failure of classical gravitation theory.
Albert Einstein's 1916 Review Article on General Relativity
Not surprisingly, they found a value for Mercury that was significantly off the observed value: theirs even came with the wrong sign (Earman and Janssen 1993).
Albert Einstein's 1916 Review Article on General Relativity
Einstein had known that the Entwurf equations produced the wrong perihelion advance for Mercury since 1913. A second set-back that undermined his confidence in the theory came in spring 1915 when Levi-Civita carefully studied Einstein’s long Academy paper and found fault with its derivation of the field equations.
Albert Einstein's 1916 Review Article on General Relativity
With the return to general covariance, the success of explaining the perihelion advance of Mercury, and the new field equations (22) of the fourth November communication, Einstein decided to write an altogether new account of the general theory of relativity.
Albert Einstein's 1916 Review Article on General Relativity
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