Meaning of galvanism in English:


Pronunciation /ˈɡalvənɪz(ə)m/


mass noun historical
  • 1Electricity produced by chemical action.

    ‘He attended lectures on many different topics but he was particularly interested in those on electricity, galvanism and mechanics.’
    • ‘Whether that sense took the form, scientifically, of a fascination with galvanism and electromagnetic storms, or of an interest in the role of the ‘animalcules’ and ‘infusoria,’ it clearly foreshadows twenty-first century science.’
    • ‘On one level, Humboldt's physiological work was dedicated to the investigation of the powers of living matter, and especially the phenomenon of galvanism.’
    • ‘He was the first to establish an explicit connection between galvanism and chemical reactivity.’
    • ‘This electrical potential is called galvanism and is the reason why we put zincs on boats.’
  • 2The therapeutic use of electric currents.

    ‘The friends were deeply engaged with the scientific ideas of their day, including those of galvanism, or creating life through electric impulses.’
    • ‘The fact that contractions occurred in dead and living preparations suggested galvanism had application in the revival of persons asphyxiated or drowned.’
    • ‘Galvanism produced no effect on the paralysed muscles.’


Late 18th century from French galvanisme, from Galvani, Luigi.