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phosphorus Line breaks: phos|phorus
Pronunciation: /ˈfɒsf(ə)rəs/

Definition of phosphorus in English:


[mass noun]
The chemical element of atomic number 15, a poisonous, combustible non-metal which exists in two common allotropic forms, white phosphorus, a yellowish waxy solid which 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.


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

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