Phosphorus

An essential element in the diet and a major component of bone.
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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 in every living cell; the elemental form is extremely poisonous, causing intense inflammation and fatty degeneration; repeated inhalation of p. fumes may cause necrosis of the jaw (phosphonecrosis); the approximate fatal dose is 50–100 mg. [G. phosphoros, fr. phos, light, + phoros, bearing]
- amorphous p., red p. an allotropic form of p. formed by heating ordinary p., in the absence of oxygen, to 260°C; it occurs as an amorphous dark red mass or powder, nonpoisonous, and much less flammable than ordinary p.; it may be reconverted to the latter by heating to 454.4°C in nitrogen gas.
- p. pentoxide the ultimate anhydride of orthophosphoric acid; a drying and dehydrating agent; corrosive.

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phos·pho·rus 'fäs-f(ə-)rəs n, often attrib a nonmetallic multivalent element that occurs widely in combined form esp. as inorganic phosphates in minerals, soils, natural waters, bones, and teeth and as organic phosphates in all living cells and that exists in several allotropic forms symbol P see ELEMENT (table)

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n.
a nonmetallic element. Phosphorus compounds are major constituents in the tissues of both plants and animals. In humans, phosphorus is mostly concentrated in bone. However, certain phosphorus-containing compounds - for example adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and creatine phosphate - play an important part in energy conversions and storage in the body. In a pure state, phosphorus is toxic. Symbol: P.

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phos·pho·rus (P) (fosґfə-rəs) [Gr. phōs light + phorein to carry] a nonmetallic, allotropic element: poisonous and highly inflammable; atomic number, 15; atomic weight, 30.974. It occurs in three forms—white (yellow), red, and black. It is obtainable from bones, urine, and especially minerals, such as apatite. Phosphorus is an essential element in the diet; it is a major component of the mineral phase of bone and is abundant in all tissues, being involved in some form in almost all metabolic processes. Free phosphorus causes a fatty degeneration of the liver and other viscera, and the inhalation of its vapor often leads to necrosis of the lower jaw. It is used in homeopathic medicine.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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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 — 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 …   Etymology 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

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