[fos-fer-uhs, fos-fawr-uhs, -fohr-]
adjective Chemistry.
containing trivalent phosphorus.

1770–80; phosphor- + -ous

nonphosphorous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
phosphorous (ˈfɒsfərəs)
of or containing phosphorus in the trivalent state

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Word Origin & History

1629, "the morning star," from L. Phosphorus "morning star," from Gk. Phosphoros "morning star," lit. "torchbearer," from phos "light" (related to phainein "to show, to bring to light;" see phantasm) + phoros "bearer," from pherein "to carry" (see
infer). Meaning "substance or organism that shines of itself" is attested from 1645. As the name of a non-metallic chemical element ["Accidentally obtained from urine in 1669 by Brandt, an alchemist of Hamburg, in the course of his search for the philosophers' stone." OED], it is recorded from 1680.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

phosphorous phos·pho·rous (fŏs'fər-əs, fŏs-fôr'əs)
Of, relating to, or containing phosphorus, especially with a valence of 3 or a valence lower than that of a comparable phosphoric compound.

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