Definitions for: Oxygen

[n] a nonmetallic bivalent element that is normally a colorless odorless tasteless nonflammable diatomic gas; constitutes 21 percent of the atmosphere by volume; the most abundant element in the earth's crust

Webster (1913) Definition: Ox"y*gen, n. [F. oxyg[`e]ne, from Gr. ???? sharp, acid
+ root of ???? to be born. So called because originally
supposed to be an essential part of every acid.]
1. (Chem.) A colorless, tasteless, odorless, gaseous element
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 15.96.

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. 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.

2. Chlorine used in bleaching. [Manufacturing name]

Synonyms: atomic number 8, O

See Also: air, chemical element, element, gas, H2O, liquid oxygen, LOX, ozone, water

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