- A clear volatile liquid with a strong smell like ether, chloroform was once administered by inhalation to produce anesthesia and given as an analgesic (to relieve pain) and a remedy for cough. It is quite toxic to the kidney and the liver. Sir James Young Simpson, a prominent obstetrician and a professor of medicine and midwifery in Edinburgh (Scotland), introduced chloroform as an anesthetic agent for childbirth in 1847. Chloroform came to be widely used for other procedures but its dangerous side effects have relegated it to the annals of medical history.
* * *Formerly used by inhalation to produce general anesthesia; also used as a solvent. SYN: trichloromethane. [chlor(ine) + form(yl)]
* * *chlo·ro·form 'klōr-ə-.fȯrm, 'klȯr- n a colorless volatile heavy toxic liquid CHCl3 with an ether odor used esp. as a solvent called also trichloromethanechloroform vt to treat with chloroform esp. so as to produce anesthesia or death
* * *n.a volatile liquid formerly widely used as a general anaesthetic. Because its use as such causes liver damage and affects heart rhythm, chloroform is now used only in low concentrations as a flavouring agent and preservative, in the treatment of flatulence, and in liniments as a rubefacient.
* * *chlo·ro·form (klorґə-form) trichloromethane, CHCl3, a colorless, volatile liquid with a strong ethereal odor and a sweetish, burning taste, a common laboratory solvent; it is hepatotoxic and nephrotoxic when ingested. It was once widely used as an inhalation anesthetic and analgesic, and as an antitussive, carminative, and counterirritant.
Medical dictionary. 2011.