Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of several compounds containing potassium, especially soluble compounds such as potassium oxide, potassium chloride, and various potassium sulfates, used chiefly in fertilizers.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A substance obtained by leaching wood-ashes, evaporating the solution obtained, and calcining the residuum; one of the fixed alkalis; the so-called vegetable alkali; more or less impure or crude potassium carbonate, or carbonate of potash as formerly generally (and still very frequently) designated; any combination of which potassium forms the base, whether containing oxygen or not.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The hydroxide of potassium hydrate, a hard white brittle substance, KOH, having strong caustic and alkaline properties; -- hence called also caustic potash.
  • noun The impure potassium carbonate obtained by leaching wood ashes, either as a strong solution (lye), or as a white crystalline (pearlash).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun the water-soluble part of the ash formed by burning plant material; used for making soap, glass and as a fertilizer
  • noun chemistry an impure form of potassium carbonate (K2CO3) mixed with other potassium salts
  • noun chemistry, archaic in the names of compounds of the form "... of potash", potassium (for example, "permanganate of potash" = potassium permanganate)

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

  • noun a potassium compound often used in agriculture and industry

Etymologies

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

[From sing. of obsolete pot ashes, an alkaline substance obtained by leaching wood ashes and evaporating the leachate in a pot.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Potash comes from the word potasch (in modern spelling potas), coined by the Dutch in 1598. The literal translation is pot ash, because it was made by burning wood to ashes in a large pot. The English word Potash dates back to 1648.

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