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Inorganic compound, one of the oxides of nitrogen. A colourless gas with a pleasantly sweetish odour and taste, it has an analgesic effect when inhaled; it is used as an anesthetic (often called just gas) in dentistry and surgery. This effect is preceded by mild hysteria, sometimes with laughter, hence the name laughing gas. It is also used as a propellant in food aerosols and as a leak detector.
Variants of NITROUS OXIDE
nitrous oxide or laughing gas
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on nitrous oxide, visit Britannica.com.