A substance supposed by 18th-century chemists to exist in all combustible bodies, and to be released in combustion.
- 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'.
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