Epsom Salts
   Epsom salts is the name for a crystalline salt of magnesium sulfate heptahydrate. Discovered near the town of Epsom, England, about 1618, it, is used internally as a laxative and externally as a soaking aid for bruises, sprains, and local inflammation. The "salt" occurs as an evaporation deposit from mineral waters. Epsom salts arc now made in America in large quantities as a byproduct of the manufacture of carbon dioxide for soda water. Much of the supply in Europe comes from the Stassfurt salt beds in Saxony, Germany.
   According to Fuller's Worthies, the mineral spring was discovered by a farmer who noticed that in spite of a drought, his cows refused to drink water from the spring. On analysis, it was found to contain the bitter purgative, sulphur of magnesia.
   Epsom Wells developed into a favorite spa. Aubrey, Pepys, Nell Gwyn, and Queen Anne's consort were among its visitors. Shadwell's comedy Epsom Wells (1672) portrays the loose life of the spa in those times.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Epsom salts — Ep som salts or Epsom salt Ep som salt (Med.) Sulphate of magnesia having cathartic qualities; originally prepared by boiling down the mineral waters at Epsom, England, whence the name; afterwards prepared from sea water; but now from certain… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Epsom salts — ► PLURAL NOUN ▪ crystals of hydrated magnesium sulphate used as a laxative. ORIGIN named after the town of Epsom in Surrey, where the salts were first found occurring naturally …   English terms dictionary

  • Epsom salts — or Epsom salt n. 〚after EPSOM〛 a white, crystalline salt, magnesium sulfate, MgSO4·7H2O, used as a cathartic * * * …   Universalium

  • Epsom salts — magnesium sulphate, 1770, obtained from Epsom water, the water of a mineral spring at Epsom in Surrey, England, the medicinal properties of which were discovered in Elizabethan times. The place name is recorded c.973 as Ebbesham, lit. Ebbi s… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Epsom salts — or Epsom salt n. [after EPSOM] a white, crystalline salt, magnesium sulfate, MgSO4·7H2O, used as a cathartic …   English World dictionary

  • Epsom salts — n pl but sing in constr a bitter white crystalline salt MgSO4·7H2O that is a hydrated magnesium sulfate with cathartic properties called also bitter salts …   Medical dictionary

  • Epsom salts — Salt Salt, n. [AS. sealt; akin to OS. & OFries. salt, D. zout, G. salz, Icel., Sw., & Dan. salt, L. sal, Gr. ?, Russ. sole, Ir. & Gael. salann, W. halen, of unknown origin. Cf. {Sal}, {Salad}, {Salary}, {Saline}, {Sauce}, {Sausage}.] 1. The… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Epsom salts — n. a preparation of magnesium sulphate used as a purgative etc. Etymology: Epsom in Surrey, where it was first found occurring naturally * * * Epsom salts f19 [ˌepsəm ˈsɔːlts] [ˌepsəm ˈsɔːlts] noun plural a white powder that can be mixed with… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Epsom salts — [[t]e̱psəm sɔ͟ːlts[/t]] N UNCOUNT Epsom salts is a kind of white powder which you can mix with water and drink as a medicine to help you empty your bowels …   English dictionary

  • Epsom salts — Ep|som salts [ˌepsəm ˈso:lts US ˈso:lts] n [plural] [Date: 1700 1800; Origin: Epsom, town in southern England with a supply of water in which the substance was found] a white powder that can be mixed with water and used as a medicine …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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