Saltpeter Salt`pe"ter, Saltpetre Salt`pe"tre,, n. [F. salp[^e]tre, NL. sal petrae, literally, rock salt, or stone salt; so called because it exudes from rocks or walls. See {Salt}, and {Petrify}.] (Chem.) Potassium nitrate; niter; a white crystalline substance, {KNO3}, having a cooling saline taste, obtained by leaching from certain soils in which it is produced by the process of nitrification (see {Nitrification}, 2). It is a strong oxidizer, is the chief constituent of gunpowder, and is also used as an antiseptic in curing meat, and in medicine as a diuretic, diaphoretic, and refrigerant. [1913 Webster]

{Chili salpeter} (Chem.), sodium nitrate (distinguished from potassium nitrate, or true salpeter), a white crystalline substance, {NaNO3}, having a cooling, saline, slightly bitter taste. It is obtained by leaching the soil of the rainless districts of Chili and Peru. It is deliquescent and cannot be used in gunpowder, but is employed in the production of nitric acid. Called also {cubic niter}.

{Saltpeter acid} (Chem.), nitric acid; -- sometimes so called because made from saltpeter. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Saltpeter — or saltpetre may refer to:* Potassium nitrate, the critical oxidizing component of gun powder * Sodium nitrate ( Chile saltpetre ), an ingredient in fertilizers, explosives and solid rocket propellants * The Saltpeter War (1879 1884) between… …   Wikipedia

  • saltpeter — [sôlt′pēt΄ər, sôlt΄pēt′ər] n. [altered (infl. by SALT) < ME salpetre < MFr < ML sal petrae, salt of rock < L sal, SALT + petra, rock] POTASSIUM NITRATE: see CHILE SALTPETER: Brit. sp. Brit. saltpetre …   English World dictionary

  • saltpeter — potassium nitrate, c.1500, earlier salpetre (early 14c.), from O.Fr. salpetre, from M.L. sal petrae salt of rock, from L. sal salt (see SALT (Cf. salt)) + petra rock, stone. So called because it looks like salt encrusted on rock …   Etymology dictionary

  • saltpeter — kalio nitratas statusas T sritis chemija formulė KNO₃ atitikmenys: angl. Indian Saltpeter, US; Indian saltpetre, GB; nitre; potassium nitrate; saltpeter, US; saltpeter; saltpetre, GB rus. индийская селитра; калиевая селитра; калий азотнокислый;… …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • saltpeter — /sawlt pee teuhr/, n. 1. the form of potassium nitrate, KNO3, that occurs naturally, used in the manufacture of fireworks, fluxes, gunpowder, etc.; niter. 2. See Chile saltpeter. Also, saltpetre. [1275 1325; earlier salt peter; r. ME sal peter,… …   Universalium

  • saltpeter — noun Etymology: Middle English salt petre, alteration of salpetre, from Medieval Latin sal petrae, literally, salt of the rock Date: 14th century 1. potassium nitrate 2. sodium nitrate …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • saltpeter — SYN: potassium nitrate. Chilean s. SYN: sodium nitrate. * * * salt·pe·ter or chiefly Brit salt·pe·tre sȯlt pēt ər n 1) POTASSIUM NITRATE 2) SODIUM NITRATE …   Medical dictionary

  • saltpeter —    See niter …   Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology

  • saltpeter — salt|pe|ter [ ,sɔlt pitər ] noun uncount a substance used in making matches and FIREWORKS …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • saltpeter — potassium nitrate …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

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