Share this entry

Share this page

phosphorus

Syllabification: phos·pho·rus
Pronunciation: /ˈfäsf(ə)rəs
 
/

Definition of phosphorus in English:

noun

The chemical element of atomic number 15, a poisonous, combustible nonmetal that exists in two common allotropic forms, white phosphorus, a yellowish waxy solid that ignites spontaneously in air and glows in the dark, and red phosphorus, a less reactive form used in making matches. (Symbol: P)
Example sentences
  • Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur and boron have been found to be important in Zambia.
  • Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc are the major minerals that make up bones.
  • When the mix is placed in soil and watered, it starts a chemical reaction that frees phosphorus that plants can use.

Origin

late 17th century: from Latin, from Greek phōsphoros, from phōs 'light' + -phoros '-bringing'.

Definition of phosphorus in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day sacerdotal
Pronunciation: ˌsasəˈdəʊt(ə)l
adjective
relating to priests or the priesthood; priestly