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: a chemical that has no color or smell and that makes up a large part of the atmosphere
Full Definition of NITROGEN
: a colorless tasteless odorless element that as a diatomic gas is relatively inert and constitutes 78 percent of the atmosphere and that is a constituent of organic compounds found in all living tissues — see element table
: a common nonmetallic element that in the free form is normally a colorless odorless tasteless insoluble inert diatomic gas comprising 78 percent of the atmosphere by volume and that in the combined form is a constituent of biologically important compounds (as proteins, nucleic acids, and alkaloids) and hence of all living cells as well as of industrially important substances (as cyanides, fertilizers, dyes, and antibiotics)—symbol N; see element table
Gaseous chemical element, chemical symbol N, atomic number 7. A colourless, odourless, tasteless gas, it makes up 78% of Earth's atmosphere and is a constituent of all living matter. As the nearly unreactive diatomic molecule N, it is useful as an inert atmosphere or to dilute other gases. Nitrogen is commercially produced by distillation of liquefied air. Nitrogen fixation, achieved naturally by soil microbes and industrially by the Haber-Bosch process, converts it to water-soluble compounds (including ammonia and nitrates). Industrially, ammonia is the starting material for most other nitrogen compounds (especially nitrates and nitrites), whose main uses are in agricultural fertilizers and explosives. In compounds, nitrogen usually has valence 3 or 5. It forms several oxides including nitrous oxide (NO; laughing gas), nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO), and other forms (such as NO and NO). Some of the nitrogen oxides, often referred to generically as NO, are notorious as contributors to urban air pollution. Other compounds include the nitrides, exceptionally hard materials made from nitrogen and a metal; cyanides; azides, used in detonators and percussion caps; and thousands of organic compounds containing nitrogen in functional groups or in a linear or ring structure (seeheterocyclic compound). See alsonitrogen cycle.