Phosphorus

phosphorus

Origin: L, the morning star, Gr, lit, light bringer; light _ to bring.

1. The morning star; phosphor.

2. (Science: chemistry) A poisonous nonmetallic element of the nitrogen group, obtained as a white, or yellowish, translucent waxy substance, having a characteristic disagreeable smell. It is very active chemically, must be preserved under water, and unites with oxygen even at ordinary temperatures, giving a faint glow, whence its name. It always occurs compined, usually in phosphates, as in the mineral apatite, in bones, etc. It is used in the composition on the tips of friction matches, and for many other purposes. The molecule contains four atoms. Symbol P. Atomic weight 31.0.

3. (Science: chemistry) Hence, any substance which shines in the dark like phosphorus, as certain phosphorescent bodies.

(Science: medicine) bologna phosphorus, phosphorescent substances which shine in the dark after exposure to the sunlight or other intense light.

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