salt·​pe·​ter | \ ˈsȯlt-ˈpē-tər How to pronounce saltpeter (audio) \

Definition of saltpeter

Examples of saltpeter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

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 That offshoot nation traded farmland for huge amounts of saltpeter. Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire," 4 June 2018 Guano was used for fertilizer, and for saltpeter for making gunpowder. Steve Haycox, Alaska Dispatch News, "The other sesquicentennial: Midway," 20 Oct. 2017 Potash was also an important ingredient in saltpeter, which was in turn an ingredient in gunpowder– Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "What the First Three Patents Say About Early America," 31 July 2017 Well, consider the scene where John Adams sings an explanation of the recipe for saltpeter to Abigail, to convince her to rally her friends to make some for the Continental Army. Matt Blum, WIRED, "Top 11 Things to Watch for a Geeky Independence Day (GeekDad Wayback Machine)," 3 July 2011

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for saltpeter

Middle English salt petre, alteration of salpetre, from Medieval Latin sal petrae, literally, salt of the rock

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Time Traveler for saltpeter

The first known use of saltpeter was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of saltpeter

: a white powder that exists naturally in some soils and that is used especially as a fertilizer, in medicine, and to make gunpowder


variants: or chiefly British saltpetre \ ˈsȯlt-​ˈpēt-​ər How to pronounce saltpetre (audio) \

Medical Definition of saltpeter

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with saltpeter Encyclopedia article about saltpeter

Comments on saltpeter

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


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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