oxidation state

noun

: a positive or negative number that represents the effective charge of an atom or element and that indicates the extent or possibility of its oxidation
the usual oxidation state of sodium is +1 and of oxygen −2

called also oxidation number

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The difference lies in what chemists call the oxidation state, which indicates how reactive a substance is. George Johnson, Discover Magazine, 25 Mar. 2013 The researchers found that a change in the oxidation state of the element chromium (from chromium 6 to chromium 3) was linked to the darkening of chrome yellow paint. Andrew Moseman, Discover Magazine, 15 Feb. 2011 The work suggests that a few chemical treatments might help leach away some of the heavy metals and convert the iron into an oxidation state more similar to that seen in typical Earth soils. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 12 May 2022 In addition, the vanadium ions can change their oxidation state during this process as well. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 4 Sep. 2020 The color depends on the oxidation state of the iron atom bound to the muscle. Popular Science, 1 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oxidation state.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1928, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of oxidation state was in 1928

Dictionary Entries Near oxidation state

Cite this Entry

“Oxidation state.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oxidation%20state. Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

oxidation state

noun
: a positive or negative number that represents the effective charge of an atom or element and indicates the extent of or possibility for oxidation of the atom or element
the usual oxidation state of sodium is +1 and of oxygen −2

called also oxidation number

More from Merriam-Webster on oxidation state

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