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hydrogen

[hahy-druh-juh n]
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noun
  1. a colorless, odorless, flammable gas that combines chemically with oxygen to form water: the lightest of the known elements. Symbol: H; atomic weight: 1.00797; atomic number: 1; density: 0.0899 g/l at 0°C and 760 mm pressure.

Origin of hydrogen

From the French word hydrogène, dating back to 1785–95. See hydro-1, -gen
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for hydrogen

hydrogen

noun
    1. a flammable colourless gas that is the lightest and most abundant element in the universe. It occurs mainly in water and in most organic compounds and is used in the production of ammonia and other chemicals, in the hydrogenation of fats and oils, and in welding. Symbol: H; atomic no: 1; atomic wt: 1.00794; valency: 1; density: 0.08988 kg/m³; melting pt: –259.34°C; boiling pt: –252.87°CSee also deuterium, tritium
    2. (as modifier)hydrogen bomb

Word Origin

C18: from French hydrogène, from hydro- + -gen; so called because its combustion produces water
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for hydrogen

n.

1791, from French hydrogène, coined 1787 by G. de Morveau, Lavoisier, Berthollet, and Fourcroy from Greek hydr-, stem of hydros "water" (see water (n.1)) + French -gène "producing" (see -gen). So called because it forms water when exposed to oxygen. Nativized in Russian as vodorod; in German, it is wasserstoff, "water-stuff." An earlier name for it in English was Cavendish's inflammable air (1767). Hydrogen bomb first recorded 1947; shortened form H-bomb is from 1950.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

hydrogen in Medicine

hydrogen

(hīdrə-jən)
n. Symbol H
  1. A colorless, highly flammable gaseous element, the most abundant in the universe, used in ammonia and methanol synthesis, in the hydrogenation of organic materials, and as a reducing atmosphere. Atomic number 1.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

hydrogen in Science

hydrogen

[hīdrə-jən]
H
  1. The lightest and most abundant element in the universe, normally consisting of one proton and one electron. It occurs in water in combination with oxygen, in most organic compounds, and in small amounts in the atmosphere as a gaseous mixture of its three isotopes (protium, deuterium, and tritium) in the colorless, odorless compound H2. Hydrogen atoms are relatively electropositive and form hydrogen bonds with electronegative atoms. In the Sun and other stars, the conversion of hydrogen into helium by nuclear fusion produces heat and light. Hydrogen is used to make rocket fuel, synthetic ammonia, and methanol, to hydrogenate fats and oils, and to refine petroleum. The development of physical theories of electron orbitals in hydrogen was important in the development of quantum mechanics. Atomic number 1; atomic weight 1.00794; melting point -259.14°C; boiling point -252.8°C; density at 0°C 0.08987 gram per liter; valence 1. See Periodic Table. See Note at oxygen.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

hydrogen in Culture

hydrogen

The lightest chemical element; its symbol is H. Hydrogen normally consists of a single electron in orbit around a nucleus made up of a single proton. It is usually found as a gas and has several uses as a fuel.

Note

Hydrogen atoms are combined to form helium atoms in fusion reactions in stars and in hydrogen bombs, which release huge amounts of energy. Hydrogen also burns rapidly, producing water as it combines with oxygen (see H2O and oxidation).

Note

For a time, hydrogen was frequently used to fill blimps and dirigibles because of its extremely low weight. In 1937, however, the hydrogen in the dirigible Hindenburg caught fire, and many of the passengers and crew were killed. Since that time, helium has been widely preferred to hydrogen for use in airships; it is not as buoyant (see buoyancy) or cheap as hydrogen, but, being an inert gas, it does not burn.

Note

Because there is so much hydrogen in stars, it is by far the most abundant element in the universe.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.