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

  • adj. Of, derived from, or containing nitrogen, especially in a valence state lower than that in a comparable nitric compound.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. of, relating to, or derived from nitrogen, especially in which the valence of the nitrogen is lower than that of a corresponding nitric species
  • adj. of, or relating to nitrous acid or its derivatives
  • adj. having a sharp odor like ammonia or nitric acid
  • n. Nitrous oxide.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of, pertaining to, or containing, niter; of the quality of niter, or resembling it.
  • adj. Of, pertaining to, or designating, any one of those compounds in which nitrogen has a relatively lower valence as contrasted with nitric compounds.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In chem., of, pertaining to, or derived from niter: applied to an oxygen compound which contains less oxygen than those in which the epithet nitric is used: thus, nitrous oxid (N2O), nitric oxid (N2O2); nitrous acid (HNO2), nitric acid (HNO3), etc.

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

  • adj. of or containing nitrogen


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Priestley found that the same kind of air was to be obtained by moistening with the spirit of nitre (which he terms nitrous acid) any kind of earth that is free from phlogiston, and applying heat; and consequently he says: "There remained no doubt on my mind but that the atmospherical air, or the thing that we breathe, consists of the nitrous acid and earth, with so much phlogiston as is necessary to its elasticity, and likewise so much more as is required to bring it from its state of perfect purity to the mean condition in which we find it."

    Science & Education

  • As aquatic dead zones around the world intensify on a daily basis the increase in nitrous oxide production could be deadly to the atmosphere.

    Aquatic Dead Zones are Assisting Climate Change with Nitrous Oxide | Inhabitat

  • Some of our ATV compatriots are looking for a no-holds-barred game of horsepower, and nitrous is the ultimate weapon.

    Power Up Your 4x4

  • Ultimately, nitrous is pricy and a bit exotic, but it can sure turn heads with the simple push of a button.

    Power Up Your 4x4

  • JAMES'S interest in nitrous oxide was prompted by a man named Benjamin Paul

    The Nitrous Oxide Philosopher

  • A study coauthored by Nobel-prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen said corn ethanol might exacerbate climate change as the added fertilizer used to grow corn raised emissions of a very potent greenhouse gas called nitrous oxide.

    Ethanol Craze Cools

  • The oxide of nitrogen so formed is called nitrous oxide or laughing gas.

    An Elementary Study of Chemistry

  • The nicotine combines with another common compound called nitrous acid to form TSNAs,

    Taipei Times

  • Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory discovered that the nicotine in so-called 'third-hand smoke' reacts with a common indoor air pollutant called nitrous acid to form dangerous chemicals.


  • After exposing a piece of paper to smoke, researchers found the sheet had levels of newly formed carcinogens that were 10 times higher after three hours in the presence of an indoor air chemical called nitrous acid commonly emitted by household appliances or cigarette smoke. --


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