(redirected from caustically)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal.


any strongly corrosive chemical substance, especially one that attacks organic matter. A caustic alkali is a metal hydroxide, especially that of an alkali metal; caustic soda is sodium hydroxide, and caustic potash is potassium hydroxide. Silver nitrate is another caustic substance; it is sometimes called lunar caustic. Most inorganic acids, e.g., sulfuric acid, are caustic, especially when concentrated.



a medicinal substance that exerts a local cauterizing effect when applied to the skin or a mucous membrane. Caustics are used for the destruction of certain skin neoplasms and for disinfection. They also perform antimicrobial activity by destroying the proteins of microorganisms. Caustics include such acids as fuming nitric acid and trichloracetic acid, such salts of heavy metals as silver nitrate and zinc sulfate, and alcohol solutions of iodine. Caustics are used in small concentrations as astringents.


Burning or corrosive.
A hydroxide of a light metal.
A curve or surface which is tangent to the rays of an initially parallel beam after reflection or refraction in an optical system.
A curve or surface which is tangent to adjacent orthogonals to waves that have been reflected or refracted from a curved surface.


1. capable of burning or corroding by chemical action
2. of, relating to, or denoting light that is reflected or refracted by a curved surface
3. a surface that envelopes the light rays reflected or refracted by a curved surface
4. a curve formed by the intersection of a caustic surface with a plane
5. Chem a caustic substance, esp an alkali
References in periodicals archive ?
Caustically, editorial writers, Conservatives and members of the British Admiralty referred to Canada's new fleet of aged cruisers as a "tin pot navy.
Steven Lewis (adjunct professor of health policy at the University of Calgary) commented caustically on the post-Chaoulli era.
Four years earlier, in Landscape and Memory, Simon Schama caustically dismissed one of the great canvasses painted for the Society of Arts, London, as a 'lamentable mishmash of allegory, history and fluvial landscape that topples over into unintended comedy'.
Similarly, Austen caustically observes, "Mr Waller is dead, I see;--I cannot greive [sic] about it, nor perhaps can his Widow very much" (22 June 1808), and in her juvenilia she refers to a young woman as "[s]plendidly, yet unhappily married" (MW 194).
Finding someone to share the blame is also caustically described as "If you have to swim in the cesspool, take some friends with you.
He caustically pointed out Robert Bridges did not grasp this change in literary culture, a principal reason why he could not read Hopkins's poetry with any deeply critical understanding.
What: Denis Leary's caustically funny/oft-tragic drama about New York firefighters returns for a second season.
The wartime service was a further contribution to the non-violence that the author professes, a non-violence that he had absorbed in his childhood in Tarnow whose Hasidic spats he caustically parodies in his reconstruction of the infamous Sabbath of 1924 that witnessed a pogrom stemming from the rebbi's incautious remark "Polish dung" about the army parade through Tarnow's Jewish section.
Needless to say, Levinas's feminization of alterity, his understanding of the 'feminine' as 'the of itself other, as the origin of the very concept of alterity,' (12) has given rise to much criticism, most famously, and caustically, by Simone de Beauvoir in Le Deuxieme Sexe (1949).
He wrote caustically about Jews publicly and scabrously privately.
Those who remember his work on the V-2 rockets caustically added, "But sometimes I hit London.
In the earlier in our time (Paris: Three Mountains Press, 1924), chapter 10 (which became "A Very Short Story" in the 1925 In Our Time) prominently and caustically features "Ag" as the unfaithful nurse in an anti-romantic tale.