phosphine

noun
phos·​phine | \ ˈfäs-ˌfēn How to pronounce phosphine (audio) \

Definition of phosphine

1 : any of various derivatives of phosphine analogous to amines but weaker as bases
2 : a colorless poisonous flammable gas PH3 that is a weaker base than ammonia and that is used especially to fumigate stored grain

Examples of phosphine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In addition to the fortuitous timing, BepiColombo has a tool on board that could potentially confirm the presence of phosphine gas in Venetian clouds, the Mercury Radiometer and Thermal Infrared Spectrometer (MERTIS), Helbert added. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "Spacecraft may hunt for life as it flies past Venus this week," 14 Oct. 2020 More observations, and missions to Venus, are needed to understand the phosphine detection. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | CHRISTOPHER COKINOS: Hidden signs of life," 3 Oct. 2020 And other researchers, spurred by the phosphine mystery, dream of bypassing the space agency entirely. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "Three ways scientists could search for life on Venus," 1 Oct. 2020 Another gas at the top of the list is phosphine, a phosphorous atom bound to three hydrogens. David Grinspoon, Scientific American, "Is there Really Life on Venus? There's Only One Way to Know for Sure," 26 Sep. 2020 But until the phosphine discovery this week, there were no data supporting any such hypotheses. Robert Zubrin, National Review, "Might We Find Life on Venus?," 19 Sep. 2020 Sure enough, that phosphine fingerprint showed up again in the new data. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, "Life in clouds of Venus? Why murky clue tantalizes scientists.," 18 Sep. 2020 Things are a bit more tolerable high in the atmosphere where researchers recently detected phosphine. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "Rocket Lab Could Beat NASA Back to Venus in the Search for ET," 18 Sep. 2020 Earlier this month, researchers discovered traces of phosphine in the clouds of Venus, a molecule that is only made on Earth as a byproduct of life. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "Meteors that brushed Earth's atmosphere may have brought life to Venus, study says," 27 Sep. 2020

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

1868, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for phosphine

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Time Traveler for phosphine

Time Traveler

The first known use of phosphine was in 1868

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Statistics for phosphine

Last Updated

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Phosphine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phosphine. Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for phosphine

phosphine

noun
phos·​phine | \ -ˌfēn How to pronounce phosphine (audio) \

Medical Definition of phosphine

1 : a colorless poisonous flammable gas PH3 that is a weaker base than ammonia and that is used especially to fumigate stored grain
2 : any of various derivatives of phosphine analogous to amines but weaker as bases

More from Merriam-Webster on phosphine

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about phosphine

Comments on phosphine

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