oxygen

noun, often attributive
ox·​y·​gen | \ ˈäk-si-jən How to pronounce oxygen (audio) \

Definition of oxygen

1 : a chemical element that constitues 21 percent of the Earth's atmosphere, that is capable of combining with all elements except some noble gases, that is active in physiological processes of almost all known organisms, and that is involved especially in combustion — see Chemical Elements Table
2 : something that sustains or fuels disagreement is the true oxygen of these magazines— Joseph Epstein

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Other Words from oxygen

oxygenless \ ˈäk-​si-​jən-​ləs How to pronounce oxygenless (audio) \ adjective

Examples of oxygen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Orkin knew there was a solution to the puzzle of sickle cell, at least in theory: Fetuses make hemoglobin — the oxygen-carrying molecules in blood cells — with a different gene. Gina Kolata, BostonGlobe.com, "At 16, she’s a pioneer in the fight to cure sickle cell disease," 11 Jan. 2020 Like many other scientists, Dr. Orkin knew there was a solution to the puzzle of sickle cell, at least in theory: Fetuses make hemoglobin — the oxygen-carrying molecules in blood cells — with a different gene. New York Times, "At 16, She’s a Pioneer in the Fight to Cure Sickle Cell Disease," 11 Jan. 2020 The practice held until the outsized, outspoken and oxygen-sucking baby boom reached adolescence and early adulthood. Karen Heller, Washington Post, "It was the year of ‘OK boomer,’ and the generations were at each other’s throats," 24 Dec. 2019 For example, sickle cell disease occurs when someone inherits two mutated genes for the oxygen-carrying protein hemoglobin. Stephanie Devaney, Scientific American, "All of Us," 23 Dec. 2019 The mitral valve is in the left side of the heart — the side that receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and pumps it to the rest of the body. Mayo Clinic News Network, chicagotribune.com, "Mitral valve repair with minimally invasive heart surgery," 6 Dec. 2019 The 6-inch-tall wooden figurine was remarkably well-preserved by an oxygen-free layer of mud; although many of the wooden artifacts unearthed during the same dig have since disintegrated, the Key Marco Cat remains in fairly good shape. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Ten Smithsonian Artifacts You Can 3-D Print," 27 Nov. 2019 The fish are air breathers, gulping air to survive and allowing it to live in oxygen-low waters. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "What the U.S. Air Force Can Learn From This Piranha-Proof Fish," 18 Oct. 2019 The Nobel committee said scientists are focused on developing drugs that can treat diseases by either activating or suppressing the oxygen-sensing machinery. San Diego Union-Tribune, "3 win Nobel Prize for showing how cells sense low oxygen," 7 Oct. 2019

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

1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for oxygen

French oxygène, from Greek oxys, adjective, acidic, literally, sharp + French -gène -gen; akin to Latin acer sharp — more at edge

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Time Traveler for oxygen

Time Traveler

The first known use of oxygen was in 1788

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Statistics for oxygen

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oxygen.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oxygen. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for oxygen

oxygen

noun
How to pronounce oxygen (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of oxygen

: a chemical that is found in the air, that has no color, taste, or smell, and that is necessary for life

oxygen

noun
ox·​y·​gen | \ ˈäk-si-jən How to pronounce oxygen (audio) \

Kids Definition of oxygen

: a chemical element found in the air as a colorless odorless tasteless gas that is necessary for life

oxygen

noun
ox·​y·​gen | \ ˈäk-si-jən How to pronounce oxygen (audio) \

Medical Definition of oxygen

: a colorless tasteless odorless gaseous element that constitutes 21 percent of the atmosphere and is found in water, in most rocks and minerals, and in numerous organic compounds, that is capable of combining with all elements except the inert gases, that is active in physiological processes, and that is involved especially in combustion processes symbol O — see Chemical Elements Table

Other Words from oxygen

oxygenic \ ˌäk-​si-​ˈjen-​ik How to pronounce oxygenic (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on oxygen

Spanish Central: Translation of oxygen

Nglish: Translation of oxygen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oxygen for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oxygen

Comments on oxygen

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