• synonyms


noun Chemistry, Pharmacology.
  1. a colorless, thick, oily, flammable, highly explosive, slightly water-soluble liquid, C3H5N3O9, prepared from glycerol with nitric and sulfuric acids: used chiefly as a constituent of dynamite and other explosives, in rocket propellants, and in medicine as a vasodilator in the treatment of angina pectoris.
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Also ni·tro·glyc·er·ine [nahy-truh-glis-er-in, -uh-reen] /ˌnaɪ trəˈglɪs ər ɪn, -əˌrin/.

Origin of nitroglycerin

First recorded in 1855–60; nitro- + glycerin
Also called glonoin, glyceryl trinitrate, trinitroglycerin.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nitroglycerine

Historical Examples

  • Naturally, the nitroglycerine had to be transported from where it was made to where it was to be used.


    Randall Garrett

  • The little word seemed to have the explosive force of nitroglycerine.

  • It was an injudicious mixture of gun-cotton, nitroglycerine or what not.

  • Wobanguli's speech had all the elements of nitroglycerine, he realized.

    The Argus Pheasant

    John Charles Beecham

  • For ballistite the nitrocellulose is beaten up with nitroglycerine in water.

British Dictionary definitions for nitroglycerine


nitroglycerin (-ˈɡlɪsərɪn)

  1. a pale yellow viscous explosive liquid substance made from glycerol and nitric and sulphuric acids and used in explosives, and in medicine as a vasodilator. Formula: CH 2 NO 3 CHNO 3 CH 2 NO 3Also called: trinitroglycerine
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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 nitroglycerine


also nitroglycerin, "explosive oily liquid," 1857, from nitro- + glycerin. So called either because it was obtained by treating glycerine with nitric and sulfuric acids or because it is essentially a nitrate (glyceryl trinitrate).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nitroglycerine in Medicine


  1. A thick, pale yellow liquid that is explosive on concussion or exposure to sudden heat, used as a vasodilator in medicine.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

nitroglycerine in Science


  1. A thick, pale-yellow, explosive liquid formed by treating glycerin with nitric and sulfuric acids. It is used to make dynamite and in medicine to dilate blood vessels. Chemical formula: C3H5N3O9.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.