am·​mo·​nia | \ ə-ˈmō-nyə How to pronounce ammonia (audio) \

Definition of ammonia

1 : a pungent colorless gaseous alkaline compound of nitrogen and hydrogen NH3 that is very soluble in water and can easily be condensed to a liquid by cold and pressure

Examples of ammonia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Employees at nearby Dynamic Fuels evacuated part of their facility because of an ammonia odor coming from the Rubicon facility. Mark Schleifstein,, "A look at the 25 Rubicon accidental releases over 10 years that potentially exposed 130 workers," 3 Jan. 2021 One day during their stay, the space station alarm went off, signaling an ammonia leak. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Astronaut Terry Virts shares an 'insider's guide' to life in space," 31 Dec. 2020 The club tests for four main parameters — phosphorus, nitrates, ammonia and chlorides — and takes the temperature and pH of the water. Suzanne Baker,, "Banning some types of fertilizers and sealants will improve Naperville-area rivers, streams: Sierra Club," 24 Dec. 2020 The reptiles hibernated in the fallout shelter, which was also where Delinda’s father stored water to neutralize chlorine and ammonia for his aquariums. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Bunker mentality: Cold War-era fallout shelters are still a feature in some homes," 3 Nov. 2020 San Antonio Water System crews discovered zero ammonia Monday after a sewer spill flowed into the San Antonio River over the weekend., "Express Briefing: Writer’s quarantine journey leads to a new book," 1 Dec. 2020 The drones were quickly outfitted with an ammonia cooling system, but Miller says the coolant was so dangerous that ground crews would need to hold their breath and run away as fast as possible if there was ever a leak. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The 200 Millisecond Mission: Inside the Secret CIA Plan to Steal Soviet Missile Data," 28 Oct. 2020 First, however, the plants add some ammonia to extend the effects of the chlorine and remove the bleach smell. Eric Roper, Star Tribune, "How do cities make Mississippi River water safe to drink?," 9 Oct. 2020 The resulting hydrogen is used commercially to make fuel in oil refineries and to create ammonia for use in fertilizers. John Fialka, Scientific American, "Energy Department Looks to Boost Hydrogen Fuel for Big Trucks," 6 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ammonia.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ammonia

1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ammonia

borrowed from New Latin, derivative based on Latin sal ammōniacus "rock salt," literally, "salt of Ammon," from ammōniacus "of Ammon," borrowed from Greek ammōniakós, derivative of Ámmōn, an Egyptian deity identified by the Greeks with Zeus, borrowed from Egyptian ỉmn; from its having been extracted near an oracle of Ammon near the Siwa oasis in Egypt

Note: The identification of sal ammoniac, not well described by ancient authors, as ammonium chloride was apparently part of medieval alchemical tradition.

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Time Traveler for ammonia

Time Traveler

The first known use of ammonia was in 1788

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Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ammonia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce ammonia (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ammonia

: a colorless gas or liquid that has a strong smell and taste and that is used especially in cleaning products


am·​mo·​nia | \ ə-ˈmō-nyə How to pronounce ammonia (audio) \

Kids Definition of ammonia

1 : a colorless gas that is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen, has a sharp smell and taste, can be easily made liquid by cold and pressure, and is used in cleaning products and in making fertilizers and explosives
2 : a solution of ammonia and water


am·​mo·​nia | \ ə-ˈmō-nyə How to pronounce ammonia (audio) \

Medical Definition of ammonia

1 : a pungent colorless gaseous alkaline compound of nitrogen and hydrogen NH3 that is very soluble in water and can easily be condensed to a liquid by cold and pressure

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More from Merriam-Webster on ammonia

Nglish: Translation of ammonia for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ammonia for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ammonia

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