nitrous oxide


Definition of nitrous oxide

: a colorless gas N2O that when inhaled produces loss of sensibility to pain preceded by exhilaration and sometimes laughter, that is used especially as an anesthetic in dentistry and as a fuel, and that is an atmospheric pollutant and greenhouse gas produced by combustion

called also laughing gas

— compare nitric oxide

Examples of nitrous oxide in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

While partying with oldest daughter Rumer Willis in 2012, Moore suffered a seizure after smoking synthetic cannabis and inhaling nitrous oxide. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Demi Moore’s dark decade: Losing baby, almost losing daughters," 13 Sep. 2019 Farming can also result in a release of carbon as CO2, nitrous oxide from fertilizer, and methane from (primarily) livestock and rice paddies. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "New IPCC report shows land use is part of solution to climate change," 8 Aug. 2019 Gases like methane, water vapor, nitrous oxide, ozone, and carbon dioxide filter out much of the sun's harmful radiation while trapping its heat, allowing a temperate climate to emerge. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "How Heat Waves Work (and Why They're Getting Worse)," 30 Aug. 2019 According to the United Nations, beef alone is responsible for 41% of livestock greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane and nitrous oxide. Edvige Jean-françois, CNN, "Could fake meat burgers make cows obsolete?," 22 Aug. 2019 Human activities have increased the amount of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emitted from land. Los Angeles Times, "Land use policy key to reining in global warming, U.N. report warns," 8 Aug. 2019 Ambient concentrations of fine particulates and nitrous oxide, but not ozone, decreased significantly over the study period, the researchers said. Katie Hunt, CNN, "Exposure to polluted air is like smoking a pack a day, study says," 14 Aug. 2019 And 75 percent of nitrous oxide emission — another potent greenhouse gas — comes from nitrogen fertilizer. Courtland Milloy, Washington Post, "Climate change is here, and we can no longer wait for someone to save us," 13 Aug. 2019 Up to 75 percent of nitrous oxide emissions — almost 300 times more the warming potential of carbon dioxide — comes from nitrogen fertilizer. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Report: we have to change how we use land and produce food to fight climate change," 8 Aug. 2019

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

1798, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for nitrous oxide

Last Updated

12 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for nitrous oxide

The first known use of nitrous oxide was in 1798

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More Definitions for nitrous oxide

nitrous oxide


English Language Learners Definition of nitrous oxide

: a gas that is used by dentists to keep patients from feeling pain

nitrous oxide


Medical Definition of nitrous oxide

: a colorless gas N2O that when inhaled produces loss of sensibility to pain preceded by exhilaration and sometimes laughter and is used especially as an anesthetic in dentistry

called also laughing gas

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