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adjective Chemistry.
  1. containing nitrogen, usually in the pentavalent state.
  2. of or relating to niter.

Origin of nitric

1785–95; nitr- + -ic, modeled on French nitrique
Related formsnon·ni·tric, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for nitric


  1. of or containing nitrogen, esp in the pentavalent state
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 nitric


1794, originally in reference to acid obtained initially from distillation of saltpeter; see nitre + -ic. Perhaps immediately from French nitrique. Known as aqua fortis, later acid spirit of nitre, then nitric acid. (1787) under the system ordered by Lavoisier.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nitric in Science


  1. Containing nitrogen, especially nitrogen with a valence of 5. Compare nitrous.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.