niter definition

  • noun:
    • A white, grey, or colorless mineral of potassium nitrate, KNO3, found in making gunpowder. Also known as saltpeter.
    • A mineral type of potassium nitrate found in making gunpowder.
    • A white crystalline semitransparent sodium; potassium nitrate; saltpeter. See saltpeter.
    • Native salt carbonate; natron.
    • A salt (KNO3), also known as saltpeter, as well as in the nomenclature of chemistry potassium nitrate.
    • The word niter (in its Hebrew, Greek, and Latin forms) was used in early times to signify any kind of saline efflorescence, and therefore included a number of substances now recognized as distinct. The ‘niter’ of the Old Testament scriptures was obviously natron in the sense of naturally occurring carbonate of soda (from Egypt). The ‘nitrum’ mentioned by Pliny, which gave off a strong smell on being sprinkled with lime, must have been a salt of ammonium, probably the chlorid; but potassium nitrate (the niter or saltpeter of the present age), and also calcium nitrate, potassium carbonate, sodium chlorid, magnesium sulphate, and the sulphates of zinc, iron, and copper (later distinguished as metallic vitriols) were probably more or less confounded under the general name.
    • (KNO3) utilized specially as a fertilizer and explosive

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