1794, from French nitrogène, coined 1790 by French chemist Jean Antoine Chaptal (1756-1832), from comb. form of Greek nitron "sodium carbonate" (see nitro-) + French gène "producing," from Greek -gen "giving birth to" (see -gen). The gas was identified in part by analysis of nitre. Earlier name (1772) was mephitic air, and Lavoisier called it azote (see azo-).
nitrogen ni·tro·gen (nī'trə-jən)
A nonmetallic element that constitutes nearly four fifths of the air by volume, occurring as a colorless, odorless, almost inert diatomic gas, N2, in various minerals and in all proteins. Atomic number 7; atomic weight 14.0067; melting point -210.00°C; boiling point -195.8°C; valence 3, 5.
A nonmetallic element that makes up about 78 percent of the atmosphere by volume, occurring as a colorless, odorless gas. It is a component of all proteins, making it essential for life, and it is also found in various minerals. Nitrogen is used to make ammonia, nitric acid, TNT, and fertilizers. Atomic number 7; atomic weight 14.0067; melting point -209.86°C; boiling point -195.8°C; valence 3, 5. See Periodic Table. See Note at oxygen.