ni·​trate | \ ˈnī-ˌtrāt How to pronounce nitrate (audio) , -trət\

Definition of nitrate

1 : a salt or ester of nitric acid
2 : sodium nitrate or potassium nitrate used as a fertilizer

Examples of nitrate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

This study was designed to look at the species of bacteria that use nitrate and convert it into nitric oxide, which when swallowed helps maintain a widening of blood vessels that leads to the ongoing effect of exercise on blood pressure. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Mouthwash after exercise may counter a workout's blood-pressure-lowering benefits, study finds," 5 Sep. 2019 Water systems there are often contaminated by nitrates from pesticides, fertilizer runoff and dairy waste, as well as arsenic, which scientists believe is released into aquifers by overpumping. Alexei Koseff,, "Gavin Newsom signs $1 billion clean-water package for poor areas," 24 July 2019 Environmental group Clean Wisconsin praised the news, saying creating new rules for how nitrates are applied to farm fields is an important step for protecting rural drinking water across the state. USA TODAY, "Milestone rhino, Bigfoot shooting, jailed for feeding cats: News from around our 50 states," 1 Aug. 2019 The detailed analysis will also list the presence of many other substances, including nitrates, chlorine, sodium, and dangerous bacteria. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How a Water Softener Works (And Why You Might Want One)," 4 July 2019 But objects composed of the others often turn up in excavations—generally coated with a wide array of oxides, nitrates, carbonates and sulphides. The Economist, "Buried metal artefacts gather stories on their surfaces," 4 July 2019 The Wilson Administration had spent a total of $130 million to build two plants on the site to process nitrates for munitions and a hydroelectric dam to power the plants—only to see the war end before the dam was quite finished. Kevin Baker, Harper's magazine, "Where Our New World Begins," 10 May 2019 The oil blend smells like citrus and is created especially to absorb nitrates, which eliminates any weird odors. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "Banish Bathroom Smells Forever With LooLoo, a Hands-Free Toilet Freshener," 18 Mar. 2019 His case against flour manufacturers to prohibit them from bleaching their product—thereby adding nitrates to the mix—was ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "We have food safety laws thanks to 19th century “poison squad”," 26 Nov. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of nitrate

1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nitrate

French, from nitrique

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nitrate

Statistics for nitrate

Last Updated

21 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nitrate

The first known use of nitrate was in 1788

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nitrate



English Language Learners Definition of nitrate

: a chemical compound that contains oxygen and nitrogen and that is used in fertilizer


ni·​trate | \ ˈnī-ˌtrāt How to pronounce nitrate (audio) \

Kids Definition of nitrate

: a substance that is made from or similar in composition to nitric acid


ni·​trate | \ ˈnī-ˌtrāt, -trət How to pronounce nitrate (audio) \

Medical Definition of nitrate

: a salt or ester of nitric acid

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on nitrate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nitrate

Spanish Central: Translation of nitrate

Nglish: Translation of nitrate for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about nitrate

Comments on nitrate

What made you want to look up nitrate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to fake an opponent out of position

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!