Definition of nitrogen mustard in English:

nitrogen mustard


  • Any of a group of organic compounds containing the group —N(CH₂CH₂Cl)₂. They are powerful cytotoxic alkylating agents and some are used in chemotherapy to treat cancer.

    ‘Radiation from nuclear bombs and gaseous particles from nitrogen mustard and acridine orange have been used destructively in war.’
    • ‘There was another name to become famous in cancer biology who worked on nitrogen mustard and on mustard gas, but whose name did not appear as a co-author on that famous paper.’
    • ‘Also during this time, the bone marrow suppressive effect of nitrogen mustard was discovered.’
    • ‘Chemicals such as mitomycin C and the nitrogen mustards generate inter-strand cross-links, while cisplatin (cis-diamine dichloroplatin) is associated with intra-strand cross-links.’
    • ‘Paradoxically, some nitrosocompounds were found to have antitumour activity and, like the nitrogen mustards described above, probably act by damaging the DNA in tumours in such a way that the cells cannot repair the damage and die.’


nitrogen mustard

/ˈnītrəjən ˈməstərd/ /ˈnaɪtrədʒən ˈməstərd/


1940s mustard denoting a substance chemically similar to mustard gas.