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phlogiston Syllabification: phlo·gis·ton
Pronunciation: /flōˈjistən/

Definition of phlogiston in English:


A substance supposed by 18th-century chemists to exist in all combustible bodies, and to be released in combustion.
Example sentences
  • In the phlogiston theory, phlogiston is released during combustion, and in the oxygen theory, oxygen is absorbed during combustion.
  • According to the phlogiston theory, combustible materials contain a substance - phlogiston - that is emitted by the material as it burns.
  • Biologists used to believe in the inheritance of acquired characteristics, chemists in phlogiston, physicists in absolute (pre-relativity) time.


Mid 18th century: modern Latin, from Greek phlogizein 'set on fire', from phlox, phlog- 'flame', from the base of phlegein 'to burn'.

Definition of phlogiston in:
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