[ uh-mohn-yuh, uh-moh-nee-uh ]
/ əˈmoʊn yə, əˈmoʊ ni ə /

noun Chemistry.

a colorless, pungent, suffocating, highly water-soluble, gaseous compound, NH3, usually produced by the direct combination of nitrogen and hydrogen gases: used chiefly for refrigeration and in the manufacture of commercial chemicals and laboratory reagents.
Also called ammonia solution, ammonia water, aqua ammoniae, aqua ammonia, aqueous ammonia. this gas dissolved in water; ammonium hydroxide.

Nearby words

  1. ammon's horn,
  2. ammonal,
  3. ammonate,
  4. ammonemia,
  5. ammoni-,
  6. ammonia clock,
  7. ammonia liquor,
  8. ammonia solution,
  9. ammonia water,
  10. ammonia-lyase

Origin of ammonia

1790–1800; < New Latin, so called as being obtained from sal ammoniac. See ammoniac Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ammonia

British Dictionary definitions for ammonia


/ (əˈməʊnɪə, -njə) /


a colourless pungent highly soluble gas mainly used in the manufacture of fertilizers, nitric acid, and other nitrogenous compounds, and as a refrigerant and solvent. Formula: NH 3
a solution of ammonia in water, containing the compound ammonium hydroxide

Word Origin for ammonia

C18: from New Latin, from Latin (sal) ammōniacus (sal) ammoniac 1

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 ammonia



1799, Modern Latin, coined 1782 by Swedish chemist Torbern Bergman (1735-1784) for gas obtained from sal ammoniac, salt deposits containing ammonium chloride found near temple of Jupiter Ammon (from Egyptian God Amun) in Libya, from Greek ammoniakos "belonging to Ammon." The shrine was ancient already in Augustus' day, and the salts were prepared "from the sands where the camels waited while their masters prayed for good omens" [Shipley].

There also was a gum form of sal ammoniac, from a wild plant that grew near the shrine, and across North Africa and Asia. A less likely theory traces the name to Greek Armeniakon "Armenian," because the substance also was found in Armenia. Also known as spirit of hartshorn and volatile or animal alkali.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for ammonia


[ ə-mōnyə ]


A colorless, pungent gas used to manufacture a wide variety of nitrogen-containing organic and inorganic chemicals.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for ammonia


[ ə-mōnyə ]

A colorless alkaline gas that is lighter than air and has a strongly pungent odor. It is used as a fertilizer and refrigerant, in medicine, and in making dyes, textiles, plastics, and explosives. Chemical formula: NH3.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.