This question is inspired from: Why do we call salts such as AgCl sparingly soluble?

The extent of solubility can be expressed as descriptive terms. U.S. Pharmacopoeia has made the following classification according to the mass msv of solvent required to dissolve one unit of mass msu of solute (Here solvent is water at 20-25 °C.):

enter image description here

(Data from Wikipedia)

Here "Sparingly soluble" is different than "Slightly Soluble" and is used to describe compounds that are not totally insoluble. Since when was the term "Sparingly Soluble" first introduced in chemistry and by who? Was this term introduced when the first solubility classification was generalized or was it introduced at a later point of time because they found that an extra term is needed to differentiate "Slightly Soluble" and this?

  • $\begingroup$ I checked the usage dates for you from the unabridged OED (oed.com). It is behind paywall. The usage of the word "sparingly" dates back to 15th century. It was not coined by any scientist. Its meaning was/is "In a restricted or limited manner; very moderately, scantily, slightly." So sparingly soluble is a common word. $\endgroup$
    – AChem
    Aug 14, 2022 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ However for legal purposes USP & British Pharmacopeia, have to classify solubility in order to prevent terminology mess in drug development science. This must be a recent development. $\endgroup$
    – AChem
    Aug 14, 2022 at 14:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ An 1808 dictionary of chemistry uses the term, says google books: google.com/books/edition/… . And has Joseph Priestly using the phrase in 1775 : google.com/books/edition/… $\endgroup$ Aug 14, 2022 at 15:35


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.