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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Niter \Ni"ter\, Nitre \Ni"tre\, n. [F. nitre, L. nitrum native soda, natron, Gr. ?; cf. Ar. nit[=u]n, natr[=u]n natron. Cf. Natron.]

  1. (Chem.) A white crystalline semitransparent salt; potassium nitrate; saltpeter. See Saltpeter.

  2. (Chem.) Native sodium carbonate; natron. [Obs.]

    For though thou wash thee with niter, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me.
    --Jer. ii. 22.

    Cubic niter, a deliquescent salt, sodium nitrate, found as a native incrustation, like niter, in Peru and Chile, whence it is known also as Chile saltpeter.

    Niter bush (Bot.), a genus ( Nitraria) of thorny shrubs bearing edible berries, and growing in the saline plains of Asia and Northern Africa.


Nitre \Ni"tre\, n. (Chem.) See Niter.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1400, "native sodium carbonate," from Old French nitre (13c.), from Latin nitrum, from Greek nitron, which is possibly of Eastern origin (compare Hebrew nether "carbonate of soda;" Egyptian ntr). Originally a word for native soda, but also associated from Middle Ages with saltpeter (potassium nitrate) for obscure reasons; this became the predominant sense by late 16c.


n. 1 (standard spelling of from=British spelling lang=en niter) 2 (context obsolete English) native sodium carbonate; natron


n. (KNO3) used especially as a fertilizer and explosive [syn: potassium nitrate, saltpeter, saltpetre, niter]

Nitre (disambiguation)

Although, in modern usage, the word “nitre” (alternatively spelt “niter”) usually refers to the mineral form of potassium nitrate, it may also refer to a variety of other minerals and chemical compounds, including

Usage examples of "nitre".

If this is not satisfactory repeat the assay, adding an extra gram of nitre for each 4 grams of lead in excess of that required, or 1 gram of flour for a 12-gram deficiency.

The sulphur of Mount Vesuvius proves invincibly that the banks of the Rhine, Danube, Ganges, Nile and the great Yellow River are merely sulphur, nitre and Guiac oil, which only await the moment of the explosion to reduce the earth to ashes, as it has already been.

He had caught a chill in the crypts, no doubt, hefting those heavy bricks, brought out by his unwise second visit to those clammy, nitred depths.

The twelve-pounder carriages were rammed into the burning gate, then Chinese Lights, signalling confections of nitre, sulphur, antimony and orpiment, were tossed among the carriages to encourage the blaze.

But this balance is disturbed in the presence of much nitre, the indications with baric chloride being disturbed by an opalescence for some c.

If this is not satisfactory repeat the assay, adding an extra gram of nitre for each 4 grams of lead in excess of that required, or 1 gram of flour for a 12-gram deficiency.

French kickshaws, and having no mother to see that he takes a dose of soda and nitre now and then to keep his system cool.

Measles, colics, sciatica, headache, giddiness, and many other ailments, all found themselves treated, and I trust bettered, by nitre.

She replied, in a dignified manner, that she had made it to divert herself with the crystallization of the silver, spirit of nitre, and mercury, and that she looked upon it as a piece of metallic vegetation, representing in little what nature performed on a larger scale.

She then pointed out a china basin containing nitre, mercury, and sulphur, and a fixed salt on a plate.

I must tell you that, using the same materials, and by the addition of mercury and nitre, I made the tree of projection for the Marchioness d'Urfe and the Princess of Anhalt.

As when that diuelish yron Engin wroughtIn deepest Hell, and framd by Furies skill,With windy Nitre and quick Sulphur fraught,And ramd with bullet round, ordaind to kill,Conceiueth fire, the heauens it doth fillWith thundring noyse, and all the ayre doth choke,That none can breath, nor see, nor heare at will,Through smouldry cloud of duskish stincking smoke,That th'onely breath him daunts, who hath escapt the stroke.

The roots contain starch, and the ashes of the plant, burnt when green, yield carbonate of potash abundantly, and also some nitre.

I savoured the familiar names: Sweet Spirits of Nitre, Tincture of Camphor, Chlorodyne, Formalin, Salammoniac, Hexamine, Sugar of Lead, Linimentum Album, Perchloride of Mercury, Red Blister.

In an Hydropicall body, ten years buried in the Church-yard, we met with a fat concretion, where the nitre of the Earth, and the salt and lixivious liquor of the body, had coagulated large lumps of fat, into the consistence of the hardest castle-soap.