• synonyms


[fos-fer, -fawr]
  1. any of a number of substances that exhibit luminescence when struck by light of certain wavelengths, as by ultraviolet.
  2. Literary. a phosphorescent substance.
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  1. Archaic. phosphorescent.
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Origin of phosphor

1625–35; < French phosphore < Latin Phōsphorus Phosphor


[fos-fer, -fawr]
  1. the morning star, especially Venus.
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Also Phos·phore [fos-fawr, -fohr] /ˈfɒs fɔr, -foʊr/, Phosphorus.

Origin of Phosphor

1625–35; < Latin Phōsphorus < Greek Phōsphóros the morning star, literally, the light-bringing one, equivalent to phôs light + -phoros bringing; see -phorous


  1. variant of phosphoro- before a vowel: phosphorate.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for phosphor

Historical Examples

  • Phosphor bronze is used for very strong castings and bearings.

    Oxy-Acetylene Welding and Cutting

    Harold P. Manly

  • A "phosphor" is in reality an example of a solid solution and is the basis of some kinds of luminous paints.

  • The ram is divided inside into two compartments, each having a phosphor bronze air piston.

  • Phosphor fires edged the keel; a trailing rope was revealed as a luminous streak.

    The Unknown Sea

    Clemence Housman

  • And whether he wished or no, Peter was drawn to follow the figure, which he could make out by the phosphor gleam of it.

British Dictionary definitions for phosphor


  1. a substance, such as the coating on a cathode-ray tube, capable of emitting light when irradiated with particles or electromagnetic radiation
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Word Origin

C17: from French, ultimately from Greek phōsphoros phosphorus
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 phosphor


"morning star," 1630s, from Latin phosphorus "the morning star" (see phosphorus). Meaning "anything phosphorescent" is from 1705.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

phosphor in Medicine


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

phosphor in Science


  1. Any of various substances that can emit light after absorbing some form of radiation. Television screens and fluorescent lamp tubes are coated on the inside with phosphors. See Note at cathode-ray tube.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.