[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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Example sentences
It was about a bacteria that use arsenic in place of phosphorous.
The alchemists also discovered some elements, such as phosphorous.
Calcium and phosphorous, two other important minerals in the body, are also monitored closely.
These smaller organisms are also stimulated by nitrogen and phosphorous nutrients running off the land.
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