Chemistry. a solid, nonmetallic element existing in at least three allotropic forms, one that is yellow, poisonous, flammable, and luminous in the dark, one that is red, less poisonous, and less flammable, and another that is black, insoluble in most solvents, and the least flammable. The element is used in forming smoke screens, its compounds are used in matches and phosphate fertilizers, and it is a necessary constituent of plant and animal life in bones, nerves, and embryos. Symbol: P; atomic weight: 30.974; atomic number: 15; specific gravity: (yellow) 1.82 at 20°C, (red) 2.20 at 20°C, (black) 2.25–2.69 at 20°C.
any phosphorescent substance.
Other definitions for Phosphorus (2 of 2)
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How to use phosphorus in a sentence
Gardening fertilizer contains nitrogen and phosphorus in forms that plant roots can easily slurp up.
This suggested that phosphorus could be a “bottleneck” element for life in the cosmos.Five Scientists on the Heroes Who Changed Their Lives - Issue 93: Forerunners | Alan Lightman, Hope Jahren, Robert Sapolsky, | December 2, 2020 | Nautilus
Sewage and agricultural fertilizer are two potent sources of nitrogen and phosphorus.More than 350 elephants died in Botswana, and we may finally know why | Kat Eschner | September 24, 2020 | Popular-Science
What’s more, there is no evidence of a recent, large impact that might have enhanced atmospheric phosphorus concentrations.Venus: Could It Really Harbor Life? New Study Springs a Surprise | Monica Grady | September 18, 2020 | Singularity Hub
Phosphine is created from phosphorus with three hydrogen atoms.Gas spotted in Venus’s clouds could be a sign of alien life | Neel Patel | September 14, 2020 | MIT Technology Review
The ones that launched phosphorus bombs and used chemical weapons?Paul Auster’s Criticism of Turkey’s Treatment of Writers Rebuked by P.M. | Oray Egin | February 4, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
The silver rays struck upon their foreheads wet with the vapors of night, and made them like frost seen through phosphorus.It Is Never Too Late to Mend | Charles Reade
From the amount of phosphorus found there appears to be about one dose of phosphoric acid to a twenty-ounce bottle.
Leading physiologists quite generally agree that phosphorus in the form of glycerophosphates influences metabolism very little.
In its elementary form, phosphorus is difficult to handle, and therefore not convenient for use.
The existence in the system of a form of phosphorus less highly oxidized than the phosphates is unproved.
British Dictionary definitions for phosphorus (1 of 2)
an allotropic nonmetallic element occurring in phosphates and living matter. Ordinary phosphorus is a toxic flammable phosphorescent white solid; the red form is less reactive and nontoxic: used in matches, pesticides, and alloys. The radioisotope phosphorus-32 (radiophosphorus), with a half-life of 14.3 days, is used in radiotherapy and as a tracer. Symbol: P; atomic no: 15; atomic wt: 30.973 762; valency: 3 or 5; relative density: 1.82 (white), 2.20 (red); melting pt: 44.1°C (white); boiling pt: 280°C (white)
a less common name for a phosphor
British Dictionary definitions for Phosphorus (2 of 2)
a morning star, esp Venus
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
Scientific definitions for phosphorus
A highly reactive, poisonous nonmetallic element occurring naturally in phosphates, especially in the mineral apatite. It exists in white (or sometimes yellow), red, and black forms, and is an essential component of protoplasm. Phosphorus is used to make matches, fireworks, and fertilizers and to protect metal surfaces from corrosion. Atomic number 15; atomic weight 30.9738; melting point (white) 44.1°C; boiling point 280°C; specific gravity (white) 1.82; valence 3, 5. See Periodic Table.
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