phosphate

noun
phos·​phate | \ ˈfäs-ˌfāt How to pronounce phosphate (audio) \

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 The federation’s achievements included persuading Mayor Richard J. Daley to make Chicago the first Great Lakes city to ban phosphates in detergent. BostonGlobe.com, "The lesson stayed with her, she later said, arousing in her a passion to help protect the earth and kindling a seven-decade career in environmentalism — in her case far removed from that parched Oklahoma soil.," 18 Oct. 2019 The federation’s achievements included persuading Mayor Richard J. Daley to make Chicago the first Great Lakes city to ban phosphates in detergent. Keith Schneider, New York Times, "Lee Botts, Champion of the Great Lakes, Is Dead at 91," 17 Oct. 2019 Starting from scratch Both DNA and RNA can form a double helix, with the exterior of the helix formed by sugars linked through phosphates. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Single reaction mixture can produce all four RNA bases," 4 Oct. 2019 Davis is charged with conspiracy to distribute promethazine hydrochloride with codeine phosphate — better known as cough syrup with codeine — as well as marijuana. Phil Davis, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore man charged with killing 34-year-old during 2018 Curtis Bay carjacking," 22 Sep. 2019 Nearby cities boomed in size, not only pumping their own sewage waste into the rivers, but also adding in phosphate laundry detergents before they were banned nationwide in 1994. Tony Briscoe, chicagotribune.com, "How algae blooms and dead zones form in Lake Erie," 14 Nov. 2019 Attachment or removal of a phosphate molecule acts as a toggle to turn proteins on or off, so the investigators took a close look at this process. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, "Sleep Deprivation Shuts Down Production of Essential Brain Proteins," 10 Oct. 2019 A decade ago, for example, Idaho officials opened up roughly 400,000 acres of roadless areas to ease operations for a phosphate mine while protecting 8.9 million acres in exchange. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump pushes to allow new logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest," 27 Aug. 2019 Modern phosphate, for fertilizers and other uses like in detergents and nerve gas, comes from the non-renewable source of rock. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Are We Reaching Peak Phosphorus? Maybe," 4 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for phosphate

Time Traveler

The first known use of phosphate was in 1788

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Statistics for phosphate

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Phosphate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phosphates. Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for phosphate

phosphate

noun
How to pronounce phosphate (audio)

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

phosphate

noun
phos·​phate | \ ˈfäs-ˌfāt How to pronounce phosphate (audio) \

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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about phosphate

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