potassium

potassium

[puh-tas-ee-uhm]
noun Chemistry.
a silvery-white metallic element that oxidizes rapidly in the air and whose compounds are used as fertilizer and in special hard glasses. Symbol: K; atomic weight: 39.102; atomic number: 19; specific gravity: 0.86 at 20°C.

Origin:
1800–10; < Neo-Latin; see potassa, -ium

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World English Dictionary
potassium (pəˈtæsɪəm)
 
n
a light silvery element of the alkali metal group that is highly reactive and rapidly oxidizes in air; occurs principally in carnallite and sylvite. It is used when alloyed with sodium as a cooling medium in nuclear reactors and its compounds are widely used, esp in fertilizers. Symbol: K; atomic no: 19; atomic wt: 39.0983; valency: 1; relative density: 0.862; melting pt: 63.71°C; boiling pt: 759°C
 
[C19: New Latin potassa potash]
 
po'tassic
 
adj

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

potassium
1807, coined by Eng. chemist Sir Humphrey Davy (1778-1829) from Mod.L. potassa, Latinized form of potash (q.v.). Davy first isolated it from potash. Symbol K is from L. kalium "potash."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

potassium po·tas·si·um (pə-tās'ē-əm)
n.
Symbol K
A soft, highly or explosively reactive metallic element that occurs in nature only in compounds and is found in or converted to a wide variety of salts used especially in fertilizers and soaps. Atomic number 19; atomic weight 39.098; melting point 63.28°C; boiling point 759°C; specific gravity 0.862; valence 1. Also called kalium.


po·tas'sic adj.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
potassium   (pə-tās'ē-əm)  Pronunciation Key 
Symbol K
A soft, highly reactive, silvery-white metallic element of the alkali group occurring in nature only in compounds. It is essential for the growth of plants and is used especially in fertilizers and soaps. Atomic number 19; atomic weight 39.098; melting point 63.65°C; boiling point 774°C; specific gravity 0.862; valence 1. See Periodic Table.
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Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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