red lead

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red lead, bright red to orange-red powder, also called minium, that is used in the manufacture of storage batteries, lead glass, and red pigments; a paint made with red lead is commonly used to protect iron and steel from rusting. Chemically, red lead is lead tetroxide, Pb3O4, a water-insoluble compound that is prepared by the oxidation of metallic lead or of litharge (lead monoxide); the commercial product sometimes contains litharge as an impurity.

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red lead • n. a red form of lead oxide used as a pigment.