potassium nitrate

noun

Definition of potassium nitrate 

: a crystalline salt KNO3 that occurs as a product of nitrification in arable soils, is a strong oxidizer, and is used especially in making gunpowder, as a fertilizer, and in medicine

Examples of potassium nitrate in a Sentence

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LeBlanc said police searched Mikula’s residence and recovered a .9 mm handgun, Russian rifle, potassium nitrate which is a precursor to making explosives, and a PVC pipe with a hole drilled into it, which is a precursor to fashioning a pipe bomb. Jerome Campbell, BostonGlobe.com, "East Boston man ordered held on $200,000 bail on explosive charges after apartment blast," 9 July 2018 Historically, the best natural source of saltpeter, the common name for potassium nitrate, has been from caves caked with bat droppings. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, "O say can you see? The science behind the booms and blooms of Independence Day fireworks," 3 July 2018 The black powder used as propellant in 19th-century guns produced thick plumes of lead, carbon, sulfur, and potassium nitrate when combusted. Aaron Mak, Slate Magazine, "Has a literal smoking gun ever been the “smoking gun” in a criminal case?," 17 July 2017

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

1866, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of potassium nitrate was in 1866

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More Definitions for potassium nitrate

potassium nitrate

noun

Medical Definition of potassium nitrate 

: a crystalline salt KNO3 that is a strong oxidizing agent and is used in medicine chiefly as a diuretic

called also niter, saltpeter

More from Merriam-Webster on potassium nitrate

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about potassium nitrate

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