phos·​phate | \ ˈfäs-ˌfāt \

Definition of phosphate

1a(1) : a salt or ester of a phosphoric acid
(2) : the trivalent anion PO43− derived from phosphoric acid H3PO4
b : an organic compound of phosphoric acid in which the acid group is bound to nitrogen or a carboxyl group in a way that permits useful energy to be released (as in metabolism)
2 : an effervescent drink of carbonated water with a small amount of phosphoric acid flavored with fruit syrup
3 : a phosphatic material used for fertilizers

Examples of phosphate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Ames had been developing an injection made up of phosphates, hydrolytes, nitrates, bouillons and other umami flavors. Ben Mezrich, WSJ, "The Yankees Who Brought Science to the BBQ World," 24 Aug. 2018 For example, Smotkin discussed the prospect of Pruitt speaking at the Atlantic Dialogues, a conference in Marrakesh underwritten by the OCP Center, the think-tank arm of a major phosphate export firm in Morocco. Washington Post,, "Lobbyist helped broker EPA chief Scott Pruitt's $100,000 trip to Morocco," 1 May 2018 Another is the pentose phosphate pathway, an additional energy-producing metabolic pathway that also generates some of the nucleotides used to build genetic material. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Sugar cures cancer! (Not really, but one sugar may help chemo)," 21 Nov. 2018 Haifa was founded in 1966 to try to capitalize on Israel’s natural resources of potash from the Dead Sea and phosphates in the Negev region. Ben Dummett, WSJ, "Israel Chemicals in Talks to Buy Haifa Chemicals for More Than $1 Billion," 4 Oct. 2018 Hydrogen cyanide, when mixed with the likes of hydrogen sulfite, can be baked by UV light into sugars, polymers and phosphates. Jamie Seidel, Fox News, "This distant planet is one of the best places to search for alien life," 3 Aug. 2018 Potash is one of three major fertilizers alongside nitrogen and phosphate. James Marson, WSJ, "More Potash Coming to an Already Crowded Fertilizer Market," 29 July 2018 Mosaic currently runs its Florida phosphate operations from a multi-story office building in southeastern Hillsborough. Kevin Bouffard,, "Fortune 500 phosphate company Mosaic moving headquarters to Florida," 15 May 2018 The day after the meeting, Mr. Smotkin attended a conference sponsored by the OCP Policy Center, a think tank funded by the phosphate giant. New York Times, "A Lobbyist Helped Pruitt Plan a Morocco Trip. Then Morocco Hired the Lobbyist.," 1 May 2018

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

1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for phosphate

French, from acide phosphorique phosphoric acid

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Last Updated

29 Jan 2019

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The first known use of phosphate was in 1788

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English Language Learners Definition of phosphate

chemistry : a salt or compound that has phosphorus in it and that is used especially in products (called fertilizers) that help plants grow


phos·​phate | \ ˈfäs-ˌfāt \

Medical Definition of phosphate

1a : a salt or ester of a phosphoric acid
b : the trivalent anion PO43− derived from phosphoric acid H3PO4
2 : an organic compound of phosphoric acid in which the acid group is bound to nitrogen or a carboxyl group in a way that permits useful energy to be released (as in metabolism)

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More from Merriam-Webster on phosphate

Spanish Central: Translation of phosphate

Nglish: Translation of phosphate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of phosphate for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about phosphate

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