French nitrique, from nitre niter, from Middle French
First Known Use: 1788
Medical Definition of NITRIC ACID
: a corrosive liquid inorganic acid HNO3 used especially as an oxidizing agent, in nitrations, and in making organic compounds
Inorganic compound, colourless, fuming, highly corrosive liquid, chemical formula HNO. A common laboratory reagent, it is important in the manufacture of fertilizers and explosives (including nitroglycerin), as well as in organic syntheses, metallurgy, ore flotation, and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. A strong acid, it is toxic and can cause severe burns. It attacks most metals and is used for etching steel and photoengraving.