phos·​phor | \ ˈfäs-fər How to pronounce phosphor (audio) , -ˌfȯr \
variants: or less commonly phosphore \ ˈfäs-​ˌfȯr How to pronounce phosphore (audio) , -​fər \

Definition of phosphor

1 : a phosphorescent substance
2 : a luminescent substance that emits light when excited by radiation (such as electrons) and is used especially in fluorescent lamps and cathode-ray tubes

Examples of phosphor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The same works with a laser but, because its light is so intense—1,000 times brighter than an LED—the phosphor filter burns out immediately. The Economist, "Chinese inventiveness shows the weakness of the law," 4 Jan. 2020 All these games were designed for standard-definition CRTs, where the inherent blur of scanlines and phosphors helped smooth out rough edges. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "PlayStation Classic review: A far-from-classic experience," 27 Nov. 2018 The Arcade filter leaves off the scanlines and instead adds a shadow mask effect, simulating the RGB phosphors of an arcade monitor. Aurich Lawson, Ars Technica, "Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection," 29 May 2018 The devices use an electromagnet to excite a phosphor coating, which creates visible light. Andy Rosen,, "Traditional incandescent bulbs are going away. This company says it has a replacement," 14 Mar. 2018 On top of that purple LED is a collection of metals called a phosphor. Sophia Chen, WIRED, "Museums Are Using LEDs to Protect and Prettify Paintings," 10 Aug. 2015

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

See More

First Known Use of phosphor

1706, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for phosphor

Latin phosphorus, from Greek phōsphoros, literally, light bringer, from phōsphoros light-bearing, from phōs light + pherein to carry, bring — more at fancy, bear

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about phosphor

Time Traveler for phosphor

Time Traveler

The first known use of phosphor was in 1706

See more words from the same year

Statistics for phosphor

Cite this Entry

“Phosphor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for phosphor


phos·​phor | \ ˈfäs-fər, -ˌfȯ(ə)r How to pronounce phosphor (audio) \
variants: also phosphore \ -​ˌfō(ə)r, -​ˌfȯ(ə)r, -​fər How to pronounce phosphore (audio) \

Medical Definition of phosphor

: a phosphorescent substance specifically : a substance that emits light when excited by radiation

More from Merriam-Webster on phosphor Encyclopedia article about phosphor

Comments on phosphor

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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