Meaning of phosphorus in English:


Pronunciation /ˈfɒsf(ə)rəs/

Translate phosphorus into Spanish


(also P)
mass noun
  • The chemical element of atomic number 15, a poisonous, combustible non-metal which exists in two common allotropic forms, white phosphorus, a yellowish waxy solid which ignites spontaneously in air and glows in the dark, and red phosphorus, a less reactive form used in making matches.

    Phosphorus is abundant in the earth's crust in the form of phosphates. It is essential to living organisms; organic phosphates are involved in storing energy in cells, and calcium phosphate is a major component of bone. The main commercial use of phosphorus compounds is in fertilizers

    ‘Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur and boron have been found to be important in Zambia.’
    • ‘Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc are the major minerals that make up bones.’
    • ‘When the mix is placed in soil and watered, it starts a chemical reaction that frees phosphorus that plants can use.’
    • ‘The three major nutrients in river water are carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus.’
    • ‘The main pollutants were found to contain nitrogen, phosphorus, oil and copper.’


Late 17th century from Latin, from Greek phōsphoros, from phōs ‘light’ + -phoros ‘-bringing’.