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 Last fall, researchers said the presence of phosphine in the planet's atmosphere could indicate life. Katrina Miller, Wired, 14 July 2021 Not long after the announcement of the phosphine discovery, Way gave a talk at a conference about Venus. Robin George Andrews, Scientific American, 2 June 2021 Even before the phosphine announcement, many planetary scientists were pushing for a return visit. BostonGlobe.com, 2 June 2021 An onboard aerosol mass spectrometer could also study the planet’s gas clouds, looking for traces of phosphine and other chemicals of interest. Chris Wright, Wired, 4 Aug. 2021 But last year, researchers discovered a potential sign of life — the element phosphine — on Venus (or more precisely, in Venus' thick, sulfuric atmosphere, which is acidic enough to dissolve a human body in minutes). Stefanie Waldek, Travel + Leisure, 3 June 2021 Last year, scientists claimed to have found traces of the chemical phosphine—an indicator of life—in the planet's thick, acidic clouds. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, 3 June 2021 Even before the announcement last month that scientists had discovered phosphine, a molecule that could be produced by living organisms, in Venus’ atmosphere, the company had been planning to send a probe there to look for signs of life. Washington Post, 2 Oct. 2020 Greaves and her team tried to figure out where all that phosphine is coming from. Sid Perkins, Science | AAAS, 14 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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Dictionary Entries Near phosphine

phosphinate

phosphine

phosphine oxide

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Statistics for phosphine

Last Updated

19 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Phosphine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phosphine. Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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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

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