A chemist’s phrase book

“Reversible Reaction” — starting material recovered.

“The reaction proceeded vigorously and exothermically, but the final result was small” — couldn’t scrape it all off the ceiling.

“Aliquots were titrated at 30-minute intervals” — a round trip to the local pub and back takes 25 minutes.

“The compound readily forms a nickel complex” — my spatula dissolved in it.

“A semi-quantitative estimate” — a guess.

“A quantitative estimate” — a guess with a fiddle factor.

“The compound hydrolyses readily” — the water pump sucked back.

“Stirred for 20 hours to rearrange” — went away for a blinding weekend.

“A flash distillation was performed.” — the apparatus went up in flames.

“Identified spectroscopically” — the right colour.

“Ethanol residues were recovered” — but the author hasn’t yet.

October 1970