nitric acid


ni·​tric acid ˈnī-trik- How to pronounce nitric acid (audio)
: a corrosive liquid inorganic acid HNO3 used especially as an oxidizing agent, in nitrations, and in making organic compounds (such as fertilizers, explosives, and dyes)

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The Tucson Fire Department tweeted the hazardous material was nitric acid, described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a highly corrosive material that can irritate one's skin, eyes and mucous membrane if exposed. Jose R. Gonzalez, USA TODAY, 15 Feb. 2023 The exposures that Rubicon has reported involved many hazardous chemicals used or manufactured at its Geismar plant, including ammonia, aniline, benzene, chlorobenzene, diphenylamine, hydrochloric acid, methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, nitric acid, nitrobenzene, phosgene and sulfuric acid. Mark Schleifstein,, 3 Jan. 2021 Pima County officials are looking into problems relaying emergency information to the public that occurred last week when a truck carrying nitric acid crashed south of Tucson, killing the driver and releasing an orange-colored gas plume. Sarah Lapidus, The Arizona Republic, 22 Feb. 2023 The Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) closed a portion of Interstate 10 on Tuesday after a tractor trailer hauling nitric acid rolled over and began leaking the caustic material. Abigail Adams, Peoplemag, 15 Feb. 2023 The Mansfield Fire Department responded about 2:30 p.m. to the Dura-Tech plant near the intersection of Sentry and Antlers drives where a chemical reaction released nitric acid, an official said Tuesday. Dallas News, 10 May 2022 The Arizona Department of Public Safety is maintaining a shelter-in-place order to a one-mile perimeter around the hazardous spill of liquid nitric acid on Interstate 10 in Tucson. Paradise Afshar, Paul P. Murphy And Chris Boyette, CNN, 15 Feb. 2023 After days of trying to fix the problem, Boeing rolled the spacecraft back into the factory and discovered that propellant seeping through a valve mixed with moisture in the air to create nitric acid. Christian Davenport, Washington Post, 19 May 2022 In contrast the Tibetan adaptations are more subtle, though interestingly their elevated nitric acid levels may facilitate better blood flow. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 14 May 2010 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nitric acid.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French nitrique, from nitre niter, from Middle French

First Known Use

1788, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nitric acid was in 1788

Dictionary Entries Near nitric acid

Cite this Entry

“Nitric acid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

nitric acid

: a strong liquid nitrogen-containing acid used in making fertilizers, explosives, and dyes

Medical Definition

nitric acid

: a corrosive liquid inorganic acid HNO3 used especially as an oxidizing agent, in nitrations, and in making organic compounds

More from Merriam-Webster on nitric acid

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