oxygen

noun

ox·​y·​gen ˈäk-si-jən How to pronounce oxygen (audio)
1
: a chemical element with atomic number 8 that constitutes 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
often used before another noun
oxygen tanks
an oxygen mask
see Chemical Elements Table
2
: something that sustains or fuels
Disagreement is the true oxygen of these magazines …Joseph Epstein
oxygenless adjective

Examples of oxygen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web People with heart disease, chronic diseases of the cardiovascular system, and smokers have a higher risk of cardiogenic dementia, which affects the body’s ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Nick Blackmer, Verywell Health, 14 May 2024 Solar particles trapped there interact with various gas molecules, such as nitrogen and oxygen, according to the research corporation's website. Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY, 11 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for oxygen 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'oxygen.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of oxygen was in 1788

Dictionary Entries Near oxygen

Cite this Entry

“Oxygen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oxygen. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

oxygen

noun
ox·​y·​gen ˈäk-si-jən How to pronounce oxygen (audio)
: a reactive element that is found in water, rocks, and free as a colorless tasteless odorless gas which forms about 21 percent of the atmosphere, that is capable of combining with almost all elements, and that is necessary for life see element
Etymology

from French oxygène "oxygen," literally, "acid producer," from oxy- "sharp, acid" (from Greek oxys "sharp, sour") and -gène "one that produces or generates" (from Greek -genēs "born, generated")

Word Origin
Oxygen was discovered by two scientists working independently, Joseph Priestley of England and Carl Scheele of Sweden. However, it was the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier who later gave the gas its name. He said the most common characteristic of this element was its ability to combine with other substances to form acids. For this reason Lavoisier named it oxygène, literally meaning "acid producer." The origin of his word was two Greek elements, oxys, meaning "sharp, sour," and -genēs, meaning "born, generated."

Medical Definition

oxygen

noun
ox·​y·​gen ˈäk-si-jən How to pronounce oxygen (audio)
: 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
oxygenic adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on oxygen

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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