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[oh-zohn, oh-zohn] /ˈoʊ zoʊn, oʊˈzoʊn/
a form of oxygen, O 3 , with a peculiar odor suggesting that of weak chlorine, produced when an electric spark or ultraviolet light is passed through air or oxygen. It is found in the atmosphere in minute quantities, especially after a thunderstorm, is a powerful oxidizing agent, and is thus biologically corrosive. In the upper atmosphere, it absorbs ultraviolet rays, thereby preventing them from reaching the surface of the earth. It is used for bleaching, sterilizing water, etc.
Origin of ozone
< German Ozon < Greek ózōn, present participle of ózein to smell; see ozo-
Related forms
[oh-zon-ik, oh-zoh-nik] /oʊˈzɒn ɪk, oʊˈzoʊ nɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ozone
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The only name which suggests itself is oxyzone, a combination of oxygen and ozone.

    Poisoned Air Sterner St. Paul Meek
  • They were filled with a milky light, and the odor of ozone was strong.

    In the Orbit of Saturn Roman Frederick Starzl
  • Electricity crackled, and the air became pungent with ozone.

    In the Orbit of Saturn Roman Frederick Starzl
  • The air was thick with the odor of raw blood and pungent with ozone.

    The Martian Cabal Roman Frederick Starzl
  • "Nothing like the ozone of the forest to make you sparkle," chuckled the traffic-manager.

British Dictionary definitions for ozone


/ˈəʊzəʊn; əʊˈzəʊn/
a colourless gas with a chlorine-like odour, formed by an electric discharge in oxygen: a strong oxidizing agent, used in bleaching, sterilizing water, purifying air, etc. Formula: O3; density: 2.14 kg/m³; melting pt: –192°C; boiling pt: –110.51°C Technical name trioxygen
(informal) clean bracing air, as found at the seaside
Derived Forms
ozonic (əʊˈzɒnɪk), ozonous, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from German Ozon, from Greek: smell
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 ozone

1840, from German Ozon, coined in 1840 by German chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein (1799-1868) from Greek ozon, neuter present participle of ozein "to smell" (see odor). So called for its pungent odor.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ozone in Medicine

ozone o·zone (ō'zōn')
A blue gaseous allotrope of oxygen formed naturally from diatomic oxygen by electric discharge or exposure to ultraviolet radiation. It is an unstable, powerfully bleaching, poisonous oxidizing agent with a pungent irritating odor, used to deodorize air, purify water, treat industrial wastes and as a bleach.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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ozone in Science
An unstable, poisonous allotrope of oxygen having the chemical formula O3. Ozone forms in the atmosphere through the process of photolysis, when ultraviolet radiation from the Sun strikes oxygen molecules (O2), causing them to split apart. When freed oxygen atoms bump into and join other O2 molecules, they form ozone. Although ozone is broken down naturally in the atmosphere through chemical reactions with other atmospheric gases (such as nitrogen, hydrogen, and chlorine), in an unpolluted atmosphere the formation and breakdown of ozone is generally balanced, and the total concentration of ozone is relatively constant. The formation and destruction rates of ozone vary with altitude in the atmosphere, and with latitude. Most ozone forms in the 15 to 30 km (10 to 19 mi) altitude range and in latitudes closest to the equator where sunshine strikes the Earth the most. The ozone is then transported northward and southward by wind and is generally most concentrated in areas above the Canadian Arctic and Siberia and above Antarctica. Ozone is used commercially in water purification, in air conditioning, and as a bleach.

Our Living Language  : Ozone is both beneficial for and threatening to all of Earth's organisms, including human beings, depending on how high in the atmosphere it is found. Ozone is naturally produced in the stratospheric portion of Earth's atmosphere (in the ozone layer) by the action of high-energy ultraviolet radiation on molecular oxygen (O2 ). By absorbing much of the Sun's ultraviolet radiation, the ozone layer serves as a sunscreen for organisms on Earth. In recent years the ozone has thinned or disappeared in parts of the ozone layer, creating an ozone hole that lets in dangerous amounts of ultraviolet radiation. Ozone holes are caused in part by the release into the atmosphere of industrial and commercial chemicals, in particular the chlorofluorocarbons (such as freon) used in aerosols, refrigerants, and certain cleaning solvents. Closer to Earth's surface, ozone is one of the so-called greenhouse gases that are produced by the burning of fossil fuels and cause the greenhouse effect. Ozone at ground level is also an air pollutant, contributing to respiratory diseases such as asthma.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for ozone



A psychedelic condition, usually due to drugs: He wasn't making much sense because he was way up there in a zone

[1960s+ College students; fr the notion of being as high as the ozone layer of the atmosphere]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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