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[nahy-truh s] /ˈnaɪ trəs/
adjective, Chemistry
pertaining to compounds obtained from niter, usually containing less oxygen than the corresponding nitric compounds.
containing nitrogen, usually in the trivalent state.
Origin of nitrous
1595-1605; < Latin nitrōsus full of natron. See nitroso-
Related forms
nonnitrous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for nitrous
  • More than three-quarters of agriculture's nitrous oxide emissions result from manmade fertilizers.
  • The motors burn an unusual fuel: a combination of recycled rubber and nitrous oxide.
  • Among the gases available for inhaling was nitrous oxide.
  • What a gamma ray burst would do is to ionize the upper atmosphere, which would then recombine to form nitrous oxides.
  • To top it off, oceanic nitrogen is converted to nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas.
  • Other greenhouse gases emitted by natural and artificial sources also include methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases.
  • nitrous oxide comes from agricultural technology and fossil fuel burning.
  • nitrous oxide is damaging the ozone layer and the climate.
  • When plant matter decays, it releases nitrogen in the form of nitrous oxide.
  • To prevent the animals from controlling their own gaze, the researchers began by sedating them with nitrous oxide.
British Dictionary definitions for nitrous


of, derived from, or containing nitrogen, esp in a low valency state
Word Origin
C17: from Latin nitrōsus full of natronsee nitre
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nitrous

c.1600, from Latin nitrosus, from nitrum (see nitre). Originally "of nitre, pertaining to nitre;" more precise use in chemistry (designating a compound in which the nitrogen has a lower valence than the corresponding nitric compound) is from 1780s. Nitrous oxide attested from 1800.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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nitrous in Medicine

nitrous ni·trous (nī'trəs)
Of, derived from, or containing nitrogen, especially in a valence state lower than that in a comparable nitric compound.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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nitrous in Science
Containing nitrogen, especially nitrogen with a valence of 3. Compare nitric.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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