oxygen

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

Definition of oxygen

1 : a reactive element that is found in water, in most rocks and minerals, in numerous organic compounds, and as a colorless tasteless odorless diatomic gas constituting 21 percent of the atmosphere, 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 — 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

But oxygen alone wouldn't be enough for E.T. to prove our existence. National Geographic, "Aliens Could Detect Life on Earth. Here's How.," 26 Mar. 2018 Stay above the snake-line, and use oxygen when necessary. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "The Storm," 19 Jan. 2018 The region is renowned and revered for their aged Chardonnays and Savagnins that strategically use oxygen during winemaking to create rich notes of baked apples and salted caramel. Marissa A. Ross, Bon Appetit, "A Beginner’s Guide to Wine Faults and Flaws," 16 Jan. 2018 Following the rescue meant coming to appreciate cave geology, the dangers of cave diving, the risks of running out of oxygen in a cave, and the utility of sedatives in an emergency. Brian Resnick, Vox, "10 science stories in 2018 that made us go, “Whoa, that’s awesome”," 18 Dec. 2018 Feeding Betting Sites Like electricity in a city, oxygen in a submarine or rubber at a tire factory, whoever controls the crucial element determines how the entire system works. New York Times, "When Sports Betting Is Legal, the Value of Game Data Soars," 2 July 2018 Organisms called cyanobacteria absorb sunlight to create energy, releasing oxygen in the process. Sarah Lewin, Space.com, "Weird Low-Light Bacteria Could Potentially Thrive on Mars," 15 June 2018 Running stimulates an increase in blood flow, a flood of enzymes to break down nutrients, and a boost in mitochondria functioning that processes oxygen for energy. Emily Abbate, GQ, "Why Some Runs Suck and What You Can Do About It," 10 May 2018 Though pollution or disease can kill fish directly, most die-offs are blamed on a lack of oxygen in the water, essentially suffocating them. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland officials investigating fish kill in Baltimore harbor, Back River," 30 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for oxygen

Last Updated

12 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for oxygen

The first known use of oxygen was in 1788

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More Definitions for oxygen

oxygen

noun

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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