ni·​trite | \ ˈnī-ˌtrīt How to pronounce nitrite (audio) \

Definition of nitrite

: a salt or ester of nitrous acid

Examples of nitrite in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Scientists had hypothesized that any drugs that raised the stomach’s pH could increase the growth of bacteria that produce nitrites, which could interact with chemicals called amines to produce nitrosamines. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, "What We Know About the Possible Carcinogen Found in Zantac," 28 Oct. 2019 Others, like nitrite and sulfite, are known to be released in gases at volcanic vents. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Single reaction mixture can produce all four RNA bases," 4 Oct. 2019 These foods all contain nitrates or nitrites, preservatives used to cure meats that prevent them from spoiling and give them that rosy color. Alix Wall,, "Some much-loved American Jewish classic foods may increase risk of cancer," 10 July 2019 Nolan Ryan Beef is leaving the nitrites behind with the launch of uncured beef franks. Katherine Feser, Houston Chronicle, "Nolan Ryan Beef launches uncured beef frank," 17 July 2019 But nitrates and nitrites are known carcinogens, occurring both naturally in some foods and as an additive in others. Alix Wall,, "Some much-loved American Jewish classic foods may increase risk of cancer," 10 July 2019 It's created from chemical reactions involving nitrates, nitrites, and other proteins, Rowena N. Schwartz, Pharm. Korin Miller, SELF, "Common Blood Pressure Medications Containing Valsartan Recalled Over 'Impurity' Concerns," 17 July 2018 Making deli meat without additives such as nitrites was particularly hard. Heather Haddon, WSJ, "Anyone for Diglycerides? Anyone? Food Scientists Are Getting Fed Up With Picky Eaters," 12 Oct. 2018 An obituary on April 26 about Dr. Samuel S. Epstein, an authority on carcinogens, referred incorrectly to cyclamates and nitrites. New York Times, "Corrections: May 5, 2018," 4 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nitrite.' 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 nitrite

1788, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for nitrite

Time Traveler

The first known use of nitrite was in 1788

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Cite this Entry

“Nitrite.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

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More Definitions for nitrite


ni·​trite | \ ˈnī-ˌtrīt How to pronounce nitrite (audio) \

Medical Definition of nitrite

: a salt or ester of nitrous acid

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More from Merriam-Webster on nitrite

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nitrite

Spanish Central: Translation of nitrite

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

Comments on nitrite

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


dull or mediocre

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