phlo·​gis·​ton | \ flō-ˈji-stən How to pronounce phlogiston (audio) \

Definition of phlogiston

: the hypothetical principle of fire regarded formerly as a material substance

Examples of phlogiston in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Lavoisier didn’t think that Priestley was right about phlogiston, prompting a long-running battle. Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "The Father of Modern Chemistry Proved Respiration Occurred by Freezing a Guinea Pig," 25 Aug. 2017

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

First Known Use of phlogiston

1733, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for phlogiston

New Latin, from Greek, neuter of phlogistos inflammable, from phlogizein to set on fire, from phlog-, phlox flame, from phlegein

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about phlogiston

Time Traveler for phlogiston

Time Traveler

The first known use of phlogiston was in 1733

See more words from the same year

Statistics for phlogiston

Cite this Entry

“Phlogiston.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on phlogiston Encyclopedia article about phlogiston

Comments on phlogiston

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!