Definition of collodion in English:


Pronunciation /kəˈlōdēən/ /kəˈloʊdiən/


  • A syrupy solution of nitrocellulose in a mixture of alcohol and ether, used for coating things, chiefly in surgery and in a former photographic process.

    ‘Most of his predecessors had to rely on the wet plate process, which required traveling darkrooms in which the plates were coated with collodion, sensitized with silver nitrate, and then developed following exposure.’
    • ‘The plate was first coated with collodion, a toxic and inflammable mixture that could be bought from druggists since in its simple state it was used to dress wounds.’
    • ‘Frederick Scott Archer, an English sculptor, discovered that light-sensitive silver salts could be mixed with collodion, a sticky liquid that rapidly hardens and which had seen use as a field bandage for the British military.’
    • ‘The plates had to be sensitised just before the photograph was taken, and since this was the era of the wet collodion process and Egypt was very hot, many times Frith's collodion boiled while he was trying to coat his glass plates.’
    • ‘Osterman exploits collodion's nearly grainless precision and the rich variability of the salt print to render the experience of sleep.’


Mid 19th century from Greek kollōdēs ‘gluelike’, from kolla ‘glue’.