potash

[pot-ash]
noun
1.
potassium carbonate, especially the crude impure form obtained from wood ashes.
2.
potassium hydroxide.
3.
the oxide of potassium, K 2 O.
4.
potassium, as carbonate of potash.

Origin:
1615–25; back formation from plural pot-ashes, translation of early Dutch potasschen. See pot1, ash1

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World English Dictionary
potash (ˈpɒtˌæʃ)
 
n
1.  another name for potassium carbonate, esp the form obtained by leaching wood ash
2.  another name for potassium hydroxide
3.  potassium chemically combined in certain compounds: chloride of potash
 
[C17 pot ashes, translation of obsolete Dutch potaschen; so called because originally obtained by evaporating the lye of wood ashes in pots]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

potash
1648, loan-translation of Du. potaschen, lit. "pot ashes," so called because it was originally obtained by soaking wood ashes in water and evaporating the mixture in an iron pot. Cf. Ger. Pottasche, Dan. potaske, Swed. pottaska. See also potassium. Fr. potasse (1577), It. potassa are Gmc. loan-words.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

potash pot·ash (pŏt'āsh')
n.

  1. Any of several compounds containing potassium, especially soluble compounds such as potassium oxide and various potassium sulfates, used chiefly in fertilizers.

  2. See potassium carbonate.

  3. See potassium hydroxide.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
potash   (pŏt'āsh')  Pronunciation Key 
Any of several chemical compounds that contain potassium, especially potassium carbonate (K2CO3), which is a strongly alkaline material obtained from wood ashes and used in fertilizers.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The cost of natural gas, for example, is one of the biggest components in the
  price of ammonia and potash.
Vale has plans for organic expansion in nickel, copper, coal and potash.
The solution he prepared exploded, splattering caustic potash into his eyes and
  blinding him.
Effect of phosphorus and potash application on lowland rice.
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