phlogiston

[ floh-jis-ton, -tuh n ]
/ floʊˈdʒɪs tɒn, -tən /

noun

a nonexistent chemical that, prior to the discovery of oxygen, was thought to be released during combustion.

Origin of phlogiston

1720–30; < New Latin: inflammability, noun use of Greek phlogistón, neuter of phlogistós inflammable, burnt up; see phlogistic
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British Dictionary definitions for phlogiston

phlogiston

/ (flɒˈdʒɪstɒn, -tən) /

noun

chem a hypothetical substance formerly thought to be present in all combustible materials and to be released during burning

Word Origin for phlogiston

C18: via New Latin from Greek, from phlogizein to set alight; related to phlegein to burn
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 phlogiston

phlogiston


n.

1730, hypothetical inflammatory principle, formerly believed to exist in all combustible matter, from Modern Latin (1702), from Greek phlogiston (1610s in this sense), neuter of phlogistos "burnt up, inflammable," from phlogizein "to set on fire, burn," from phlox (genitive phlogos) "flame, blaze" (see bleach (v.)). Theory propounded by Stahl (1702), denied by Lavoisier (1775), defended by Priestley but generally abandoned by 1800. Related: Phlogistic; phlogisticated.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for phlogiston

phlogiston

[ flō-jĭstən ]

A hypothetical colorless, odorless, weightless substance once believed to be the combustible part of all flammable substances and to be given off as flame during burning. In the 18th century, Antoine Lavoisier proved that phlogiston does not exist. See Note at Lavoisier.
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