Oxygen
Oxygen Ox"y*gen, n. [F. oxyg[`e]ne, from Gr. 'oxy`s sharp, acid + root of gi`gnesqai to be born. So called because originally supposed to be an essential part of every acid.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Chem.) A colorless, tasteless, odorless, gaseous element of atomic number 8, occurring in the free state in the atmosphere, of which it forms about 23 per cent by weight and about 21 per cent by volume, being slightly heavier than nitrogen. Symbol O. Atomic weight 15.9994. [1913 Webster +PJC]

Note: It occurs combined in immense quantities, forming eight ninths by weight of water, and probably one half by weight of the entire solid crust of the globe, being an ingredient of silica, the silicates, sulphates, carbonates, nitrates, etc. Oxygen combines with all elements (except fluorine), forming oxides, bases, oxyacid anhydrides, etc., the process in general being called oxidation, of which combustion is only an intense modification. At ordinary temperatures with most substances it is moderately active, but at higher temperatures it is one of the most violent and powerful chemical agents known. It is indispensable in respiration, and in general is the most universally active and efficient element. It may be prepared in the pure state by heating potassium chlorate. [1913 Webster] This element (called dephlogisticated air by Priestley) was named oxygen by Lavoisier because he supposed it to be a constituent of all acids. This is not so in the case of a very few acids (as hydrochloric, hydrobromic, hydric sulphide, etc.), but these do contain elements analogous to oxygen in property and action. Moreover, the fact that most elements approach the nearer to acid qualities in proportion as they are combined with more oxygen, shows the great accuracy and breadth of Lavoisier's conception of its nature. [1913 Webster]

2. Chlorine used in bleaching. [Manufacturing name] [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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  • oxygen — Symbol: O Atomic number: 8 Atomic weight: 15.9994 A colourless, odourless gaseous element belonging to group 16 of the periodic table. It is the most abundant element present in the earth s crust. It also makes up 20.8% of the Earth s atmosphere …   Elements of periodic system

  • oxygen — (n.) gaseous chemical element, 1790, from Fr. oxygène, coined in 1777 by French chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743 1794), from Gk. oxys sharp, acid (see ACRID (Cf. acrid)) + Fr. gène something that produces (from Gk. genes formation,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • oxygen — [äk′si jən] n. [Fr oxygène, altered (1786) < earlier oxygine, lit., acid producing: so named (1777) by LAVOISIER Antoine Laurent < Gr oxys (see OXY 2) + L gignere, to beget (see GENUS): from the belief that oxygen is present in all acids] a …   English World dictionary

  • Oxygēn — (v. gr.), so v.w. Sauerstoff …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Oxygēn — (Oxygenium, Oxygengas), Sauerstoff (s. d.) …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Oxygen — Oxygen, s. Sauerstoff …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • oxygen — ► NOUN ▪ a colourless, odourless, gaseous chemical element, forming about 20 per cent of the earth s atmosphere and essential to life. ORIGIN from French principe oxygène acidifying constituent (because at first it was held to be the essential… …   English terms dictionary

  • Oxygen — This article is about the chemical element and its most stable form, O2 or dioxygen. For other forms of this element, see Allotropes of oxygen. For other uses, see Oxygen (disambiguation). nitrogen ← oxygen → fluorine ↑ O ↓ …   Wikipedia

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