phosphorus

phosphorus "substance or organism that shines of itself," 1640s, from L. phosphorus "light-bringing," also "the morning star" (a sense attested in English from 1620), from Gk. Phosphoros "morning star," lit. "torchbearer," from phos "light" (related to phainein "to show, to bring to light;" see PHANTASM (Cf. phantasm)) + phoros "bearer," from pherein "to carry" (see INFER (Cf. infer)).
As the name of a non-metallic chemical element, it is recorded from 1680, originally one among several substances so called; the word used exclusively of the element from c.1750. It was discovered in 1669 by Henning Brand, merchant and alchemist of Hamburg, who derived it from urine. Lavoisier demonstrated it was an element in 1777. According to Flood, "It is the first element whose discoverer is known."

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Phosphorus — Phos phor*us (f[o^]s f[o^]r*[u^]s), n.; pl. {Phosphori} (f[o^]s f[o^]r*[imac]). [L., the morning star, Gr. fwsfo ros, lit., light bringer; fw^s light + fe rein to bring.] 1. The morning star; Phosphor. [1913 Webster] 2. (Chem.) A poisonous… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • phosphorus 32 — thərt ē tü n a heavy radioactive isotope of phosphorus having a mass number of 32 and a half life of 14.3 days that is produced in nuclear reactors and used chiefly in tracer studies (as in biology and in chemical analysis) and in medical diagnos …   Medical dictionary

  • phosphorus — phosphorus, phosphorous Phosphorus is the noun for the chemical element, and phosphorous is the adjective meaning ‘containing phosphorus’ …   Modern English usage

  • phosphorus — [fäs′fə rəs] n. [ModL < L Phosphorus, morning star < Gr phōsphoros, bringer of light < phōs, a light, contr. < phaos < IE base * bhā , to shine > Gr phainein, to show (> FANTASY) + PHOR(O)US] 1. Archaic any phosphorescent… …   English World dictionary

  • phosphorus — ► NOUN ▪ a poisonous non metallic chemical element existing as a yellowish waxy solid which ignites spontaneously in air and glows in the dark, and as a less reactive form used in making matches. DERIVATIVES phosphorous adjective. USAGE The… …   English terms dictionary

  • phosphorus — Symbol: P Atomic number: 15 Atomic weight: 30.9738 Non metallic element belonging to group 15 of the periodic table. Has a multiple allotropic forms. Essential element for living organisms. It was discovered by Brandt in 1669 …   Elements of periodic system

  • Phosphorus — This article is about the chemical element. For other uses, see Phosphorus (disambiguation). silicon ← phosphorus → sulfur …   Wikipedia

  • phosphorus — /fos feuhr euhs/, n., pl. phosphori / feuh ruy /. 1. Chem. a solid, nonmetallic element existing in at least three allotropic forms, one that is yellow, poisonous, flammable, and luminous in the dark, one that is red, less poisonous, and less… …   Universalium

  • Phosphorus — /fos feuhr euhs/, n. Phosphor. * * * Nonmetallic chemical element, chemical symbol P, atomic number 15. The ordinary allotrope, called white phosphorus, is a poisonous, colourless, semitransparent, soft, waxy solid that glows in the dark (see… …   Universalium

  • Phosphorus — An essential element in the diet and a major component of bone. * * * A nonmetallic chemical element, atomic no. 15, atomic wt. 30.973762, occurring extensively in nature always in combination as phosphates, phosphites, etc., and as the phosphate …   Medical dictionary

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