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

Definition of nitrate

1 : a salt or ester of nitric acid
2 : sodium nitrate or potassium nitrate used as a fertilizer
3 : any of several nitric-acid esters of cellulose : nitrocellulose especially : a product (such as celluloid film) made from cellulose nitrate In the case of the Clark Gable Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), the nitrate original was destroyed before anyone noticed the transferred soundtrack was out of sync. — Roy Hemming

Examples of nitrate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound often used as fertilizer. Allison Prang, WSJ, 1 Feb. 2022 Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound used as a source of nitrogen for fertilizer. NBC News, 1 Feb. 2022 In these wet conditions, soil microbes break down a compound called nitrate in a process that unleashes nitrous oxide into the air. Washington Post, 22 Dec. 2021 Then, to make matters worse, the original cut was melted down during World War II for its nitrate. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 29 Apr. 2021 Ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive material that was confiscated from a ship several years ago and stored at a local port, is believed to have been the culprit, according to the Lebanese General Security. Miriam Fauzia, USA TODAY, 7 Aug. 2020 Ammonium nitrate, also called AN, is a compound of ammonium and nitrogen that is used in agricultural fertilizer and explosives. NBC News, 5 Aug. 2020 Ammonium nitrate, a compound of ammonia and nitrogen, is a highly volatile material used in agricultural fertilizers and bombs. Jessie Yeung, CNN, 5 Aug. 2020 Gardeners often apply fertilizer to their crops in mid-summer with a cup of ammonium sulfate (21-0-0), a cup and a third of calcium nitrate (15-0-0), or about half a cup of urea (46-0-0) per 10 feet of row. oregonlive, 19 July 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of nitrate

1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nitrate

French, from nitrique

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Time Traveler for nitrate

Time Traveler

The first known use of nitrate was in 1788

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Dictionary Entries Near nitrate



nitrate bacterium

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Cite this Entry

“Nitrate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for nitrate


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

More from Merriam-Webster on nitrate

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


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