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

According to the National Health Service, when administered properly, nitrous oxide has several legitimate uses, but when abused can make people feel euphoric and relaxed, or lead others to hallucinate. Alexandria Hein, Fox News, "Woman claims sucking balloon air left her paralyzed," 24 Aug. 2018 This fact requires manufactures to produce unique engines specific to the American market, including the addition of awkward urea tanks for trapping nitrous oxide. Philip Armour, Popular Mechanics, "The Fledgling Revival of American Diesel," 6 Mar. 2018 Strahan and Douglass use some additional chemistry to demonstrate that nitrous oxide levels correlate with the amount of CFC present. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "New measurement confirms: The ozone is coming back," 4 Jan. 2018 At one point, plainclothes officers approached the vehicle and could smell cannabis, and a search of the vehicle turned up the tanks of nitrous oxide under a blanket in the rear of the vehicle, according to the release. Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, "Tanks of nitrous oxide recovered from vehicle in Orland Park," 22 May 2018 Silver had thought that the compost would simply break down, releasing its carbon back into the atmosphere or, worse, produce nitrous oxide. Moises Velasquez-manoff, New York Times, "Can Dirt Save the Earth?," 18 Apr. 2018 The mothership then dropped SpaceShipTwo, which shortly after fired up its hybrid rocket engine for the first time, burning nitrous oxide and HTPB compound. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "Virgin Galactic Conducts First Rocket-Powered Flight of VSS Unity," 5 Apr. 2018 Their report states that a 13-year-old boy was found a short distance from the grounds and admitting to taking nitrous oxide, cannabis and alcohol. Lilly Milman, Billboard, "Mutiny Festival Cut Short Following Drug-Related Deaths," 30 May 2018 Death from all causes increased by 5% for every 10 parts per billion increase in long-term average nitrous oxide exposure among people who least adhered to the eating pattern, compared to only 2% among people who most followed the diet. Alexandra Sifferlin, Time, "Can Your Diet Reduce the Effects of Air Pollution? Here's What a New Study Says," 21 May 2018

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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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

More from Merriam-Webster on nitrous oxide Encyclopedia article about nitrous oxide

Comments on nitrous oxide

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


to affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

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