formic [fawr-mik] ExamplesWord Origin adjective

  1. of or relating to ants.
  2. Chemistry. of or derived from formic acid.

Origin of formic 1785–95; irregular Latin formīca ant. Cf. French formique Examples from the Web for formic Historical Examples of formic

  • The inflammation caused by the sting of the bee is due to formic acid.

    An Elementary Study of Chemistry

    William McPherson

  • The name “formic” is derived from the Latin formica, signifying ant.

    An Elementary Study of Chemistry

    William McPherson

  • Formic acid has the additional advantage of making the liquor antiseptic.


    K. J. Adcock

  • Formic acid reduces the salts of mercury and silver, and forms salts with the bases termed formiates.

    Cooley’s Cyclopdia of Practical Receipts and Collateral Information in the Arts, Manufactures, Professions, and Trades…, Sixth Edition, Volume I

    Arnold Cooley

  • Formic acid is shed so sensibly by the wood Ant, Formica rufa, when an Ant-hill is stirred, that it can occasion an inflammation.

    Curious Facts in the History of Insects; Including Spiders and Scorpions.

    Frank Cowan

  • British Dictionary definitions for formic formic adjective

    1. of, relating to, or derived from ants
    2. of, containing, or derived from formic acid

    Word Origin for formic C18: from Latin formīca ant; the acid occurs naturally in ants Word Origin and History for formic adj.

    1791 (in formic acid), coined from Latin formica “ant” (see Formica (n.2)). The acid apparently first was noticed by Samuel Fisher and John Wray in 1670; it was first obtained in a fairly pure form in 1749 by German chemist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf (1709-1782), who prepared it by distilling red ants. It also is found in bee stings and stinging nettles.

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