(Science: chemistry) Of, pertaining to, or containing, nitrogen; specifically, designating any one of those compounds in which, as contrasted with nitrous compounds, the element has a higher valence; as, nitric oxide; nitric acid. Nitric acid, a colourless or yellowish liquid obtained by distilling a nitrate with sulphuric acid. It is powerfully corrosive, being a strong acid, and in decomposition a strong oxidizer. Nitric anhydride, a white crystalline oxide of nitrogen (N2O5), called nitric pentoxide, and regarded as the anhydride of nitric acid. Nitric oxide, a colourless poisous gas (nO) obtained by treating nitric acid with copper. On contact with the air or with oxygen, it becomes reddish brown from the formation of nitric dioxide or peroxide.
Origin: Cf. F. Nitrique. See Niter.