sodium nitrite


: a salt NaNO2 used especially in dye manufacture and as a meat preservative

Examples of sodium nitrite in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Authorities now believe websites operated by Law sold sodium nitrite—a food preservative that can be deadly if ingested—and related equipment that caused the deaths of adults and minors in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K, according to Canada’s Peel Regional Police. Samira Asma-Sadeque, Peoplemag, 1 Feb. 2024 Kenneth Law, who's charged with 14 charges of aiding suicide, is also being charged in Canada with 14 counts of second-degree murder for selling sodium nitrite online to people at risk of self harm. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports,, 13 Dec. 2023 Britain is investigating the deaths of 88 of the 272 people in the country who purchased sodium nitrite — a salt that is used as a food preservative — from Mr. Law’s website, a spokesman for Britain’s National Crime Agency said in an email. Vjosa Isai, New York Times, 29 Sep. 2023 These foods also contain high levels of sodium nitrite, a compound that may convert into nitrosamines and increase the risk of gastric cancer. Barbara Brody, Fortune Well, 17 Aug. 2023 This was not the first time Wang had used sodium nitrite. Kate Perez, USA TODAY, 14 July 2023 Wang Yun, 40, was convicted of poisoning her students by adding sodium nitrite to the food being served to them. Kate Perez, USA TODAY, 14 July 2023 Kindergarten Teacher in China Gets Death Sentence for Poisoning 25 Students with Laced Porridge Wang, a former teacher at Mengmeng Pre-school Education, had reportedly been accused of poisoning 25 students in March 2019 by putting a dose of toxic sodium nitrite in the student’s food. Sean Neumann, Peoplemag, 14 July 2023 Only the hogs ate the sodium nitrite and died. Stephen Ornes, The Atlantic, 15 May 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sodium nitrite.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1869, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sodium nitrite was in 1869

Dictionary Entries Near sodium nitrite

Cite this Entry

“Sodium nitrite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

sodium nitrite

: a salt used especially in the manufacture of dyes and as a meat preservative

Medical Definition

sodium nitrite

: a colorless or yellowish deliquescent salt NaNO2 that is used as a meat preservative and in medicine as a vasodilator and an antidote for cyanide poisoning

More from Merriam-Webster on sodium nitrite

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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