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[nahy-truh s] /ˈnaɪ trəs/
adjective, Chemistry.
pertaining to compounds obtained from niter, usually containing less oxygen than the corresponding nitric compounds.
containing nitrogen, usually in the trivalent state.
Origin of nitrous
First recorded in 1595-1605, nitrous is from the Latin word nitrōsus full of natron. See nitroso-
Related forms
nonnitrous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for nitrous


of, derived from, or containing nitrogen, esp in a low valency state
Word Origin
C17: from Latin nitrōsus full of natronsee nitre
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
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Word Origin and History for nitrous

c.1600, from Latin nitrosus, from nitrum (see nitre). Originally "of nitre, pertaining to nitre;" more precise use in chemistry (designating a compound in which the nitrogen has a lower valence than the corresponding nitric compound) is from 1780s. Nitrous oxide attested from 1800.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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nitrous in Medicine

nitrous ni·trous (nī'trəs)
Of, derived from, or containing nitrogen, especially in a valence state lower than that in a comparable nitric compound.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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nitrous in Science
Containing nitrogen, especially nitrogen with a valence of 3. Compare nitric.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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