Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A colorless, flammable, pungent, highly poisonous gas, C2N2, used as a rocket propellant, an insecticide, and a chemical weapon.
  • n. A univalent radical, CN, found in simple and complex cyanide compounds.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A colourless, poisonous gas used as a rocket propellant, an insecticide and in chemical warfare.
  • n. The pseudohalogen (CN)2.
  • n. The radical -CN.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A colorless, inflammable, poisonous gas, C2N2, with a peach-blossom odor, so called from its tendency to form blue compounds; obtained by heating ammonium oxalate, mercuric cyanide, etc. It is obtained in combination, forming an alkaline cyanide when nitrogen or a nitrogenous compound is strongly ignited with carbon and soda or potash. It conducts itself like a member of the halogen group of elements, and shows a tendency to form complex compounds. The name is also applied to the univalent radical, CN (the half molecule of cyanogen proper), which was one of the first compound radicals recognized.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Chemical symbol Cy. A compound radical, CN, composed of one atom of nitrogen and one of carbon.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a colorless toxic gas with a pungent almond odor; has been used in chemical warfare

Etymologies

Ancient Greek a dark blue substance + -gen: compare French cyanogène. So called because it produced blue dyes. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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