from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A white, gray, or colorless mineral of potassium nitrate, KNO3, used in making gunpowder. Also called saltpeter.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A mineral form of potassium nitrate used in making gunpowder.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A white crystalline semitransparent salt; potassium nitrate; saltpeter. See saltpeter.
- n. Native sodium carbonate; natron.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A salt (KNO3), also called saltpeter, and in the nomenclature of chemistry potassium nitrate.
- n. The word niter (in its Hebrew, Greek, and Latin forms) was used in early times to signify any kind of saline efflorescence, and therefore included a number of substances now recognized as distinct. The ‘niter’ of the Old Testament scriptures was obviously natron in the sense of naturally occurring carbonate of soda (from Egypt). The ‘nitrum’ mentioned by Pliny, which gave off a strong smell on being sprinkled with lime, must have been a salt of ammonium, probably the chlorid; but potassium nitrate (the niter or saltpeter of the present age), and also calcium nitrate, potassium carbonate, sodium chlorid, magnesium sulphate, and the sulphates of zinc, iron, and copper (later distinguished as metallic vitriols) were probably more or less confounded under the general name.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. (KNO3) used especially as a fertilizer and explosive
Middle English nitre, sodium carbonate, natron, from Old French, from Latin nitrum, from Greek nitron, from Egyptian nṯr.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)