- Phosphorus is a poisonous nonmetallic chemical element.
An example of phosphorus is the element with the atomic number 15.
- Archaic any phosphorescent substance or object
- a nonmetallic chemical element, normally a white, phosphorescent, waxy solid, becoming yellow when exposed to light: it is poisonous and unites easily with oxygen, so that it ignites spontaneously at room temperature: when heated in sealed tubes it is converted into a red form, which is nonpoisonous and less flammable than the white: when heated under a pressure of 10,000 atmospheres it is converted into a black powder: symbol, P; at. no., 15: a radioactive isotope () is used in the diagnosis and treatment of certain diseases, as a tracer in chemical and biochemical research, etc.
Origin of phosphorusModern Latin ; from Classical Latin Phosphorus, morning star ; from Classical Greek phōsphoros, bringer of light ; from phōs, a light, contr. ; from phaos ; from Indo-European base an unverified form bhā-, to shine from source Classical Greek phainein, to show (from source fantasy) + -phor(o)us
- Symbol P A highly reactive, poisonous, nonmetallic element occurring naturally in phosphates, especially apatite, and existing in three allotropic forms, white (or sometimes yellow), red, and black (or violet). An essential element for biological cells, it is used in safety matches, pyrotechnics, incendiary shells, and fertilizers and to protect metal surfaces from corrosion. Atomic number 15; atomic weight 30.9738; melting point (white) 44.15°C; boiling point 280.5°C; specific gravity (white) 1.82, (red) 2.16, (black) 2.25 to 2.69; valence 3, 4, 5. See Periodic Table.
- A phosphorescent substance.
- Phosphorus Astronomy See Lucifer.
Origin of phosphorusModern Latin phōsphorus, substance or organism that emits light, phosphorus, Latin Phōsphorus, morning star, from Greek phōsphoros, bringing light, morning star : phōs, light; see bhā-1 in Indo-European roots + -phoros, -phorous.
- Do not confuse phosphorus with phosphorous, which is an adjective.
From Latinised Greek Phosphorus, from Ancient Greek Î¦Ï‰ÏƒÏ†ÏŒÏÎ¿Ï‚ (FÅsforos, â€œthe bearer of lightâ€), from Ï†á¿¶Ï‚ (fÅs, â€œlightâ€) + Ï†ÎÏÏ‰ (pherÅ, â€œI bear, carryâ€).