Chemistry. containing the nitro group.


Origin of nitro

First recorded in 1855–60; see origin at nitro-


a combining form used in the names of chemical compounds in which the nitro group is present: nitroglycerin.
Also especially before a vowel, nitr-.

Origin of nitro-

combining form of Greek nítron. See niter Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nitro

Historical Examples of nitro

  • Bigger than if a nitro truck had blown up, which was his first thought.

  • After it is washed out the nitro is left apparently unchanged.

  • This was merely the reaction from the pain of the shell's entrance; the nitro had not as yet exploded.

  • Before putting on suits, Banner sent Arnold to the locker to get the three nitro paks.


    Murray F. Yaco

  • The salts of the carbonyl acids and other acid phenol dyes are but little suitable: and least of all, the nitro dyes.

British Dictionary definitions for nitro



slang short for nitroglycerine


before a vowel nitr-

combining form

indicating that a chemical compound contains a nitro group, -NO 2nitrobenzene
indicating that a chemical compound is a nitrate esternitrocellulose

Word Origin for nitro-

from Greek nitron natron
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 nitro

abbreviation of nitroglycerine, 1935, slang.


before vowels nitr-, word-forming element used scientifically and indicating "nitrogen, nitrate" or "nitric acid," from comb. form of Greek nitron (see nitre).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nitro in Medicine



Nitrate; nitrogen:nitrogenase.
Containing the univalent radical NO2:nitrous.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.