noun, often attributive
ni·​tro·​gen | \ ˈnī-trə-jən \

Definition of nitrogen

: a colorless tasteless odorless element that as a diatomic gas is relatively inert and constitutes 78 percent of the atmosphere and that is a constituent of organic compounds found in all living tissues — see Chemical Elements Table

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Other Words from nitrogen

nitrogenous \ nī-​ˈträ-​jə-​nəs \ adjective

Examples of nitrogen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But this was my highest-ever candy spend: $33 for a mere five Kit Kat bars... that had just been ordered to my customizations and doused in a bath of liquid nitrogen. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Yes, we flew to Japan to watch someone pour liquid nitrogen on custom Kit Kats," 28 Oct. 2018 Alabama, Oklahoma and Mississippi all have laws that allow the use of death by nitrogen hypoxia, or gas chamber. Willie James Inman, Fox News, "Future of lethal injection in doubt as critics, drug makers rebel against it," 31 July 2018 Dragonbreath cereal ball 2935 N. Broadway, 773-697-7530 At this cold dessert spot, crunchy snacks are fused with negative 321-degree liquid nitrogen. Hannah Steinkopf-frank, RedEye Chicago, "10 cereal dishes that take childhood favorites out of the breakfast bowl," 6 July 2018 And many have their own house brands that do have high levels of slow-release nitrogen. Neil Sperry, San Antonio Express-News, "Oak galls an ugly home for larvae, but not a major concern," 13 Apr. 2018 Bridgestone does not prefer oxygen or nitrogen—both are acceptable gases for tire inflation. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Should You Really Put Nitrogen in Your Car Tires?," 19 Dec. 2018 Potash is one of three major fertilizers alongside nitrogen and phosphate. James Marson, WSJ, "More Potash Coming to an Already Crowded Fertilizer Market," 29 July 2018 Some margaritas come with twists such as liquid nitrogen, boba tea, avocados, and sangria popsicles. Nancy Trejos, USA TODAY, "New trail lets you explore Dallas one margarita at a time," 24 May 2018 The contact pushes springs that trigger a blast of nitrogen gas that stirs up pieces of the regolith. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Meet the Spacecraft That's About to Play Tag with an Asteroid," 16 Nov. 2018

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

1791, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nitrogen

French nitrogène, from nitre niter + -gène -gen

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Statistics for nitrogen

Last Updated

15 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nitrogen

The first known use of nitrogen was in 1791

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More Definitions for nitrogen



English Language Learners Definition of nitrogen

: a chemical that has no color or smell and that makes up a large part of the atmosphere


ni·​tro·​gen | \ ˈnī-trə-jən \

Kids Definition of nitrogen

: a colorless odorless gaseous chemical element that makes up 78 percent of the atmosphere and forms a part of all living tissues


ni·​tro·​gen | \ ˈnī-trə-jən \

Medical Definition of nitrogen

: a common nonmetallic element that in the free form is normally a colorless odorless tasteless insoluble inert diatomic gas comprising 78 percent of the atmosphere by volume and that in the combined form is a constituent of biologically important compounds (as proteins, nucleic acids, and alkaloids) and hence of all living cells as well as of industrially important substances (as cyanides, fertilizers, dyes, and antibiotics) symbol N — see Chemical Elements Table

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More from Merriam-Webster on nitrogen

Spanish Central: Translation of nitrogen

Nglish: Translation of nitrogen for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on nitrogen

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


a complex dispute or argument

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