Webster 1913 Edition
oxygène, from Gr.
ὀξύσsharp, acid + root of
γίγνεσθαιto be born. So called because originally supposed to be an essential part of every
☞ It occurs combined in immense quantities, forming eight ninths by weight of water, and probably one half by weight of the entire solid crust of the globe, being an ingredient of silica, the silicates, sulphates, carbonates, nitrates, etc. Oxygen combines with all elements (except fluorine), forming oxides, bases, oxyacid anhydrides, etc., the process in general being called oxidation, of which combustion is only an intense modification. At ordinary temperatures with most substances it is moderately active, but at higher temperatures it is one of the most violent and powerful chemical agents known. It is indispensable in respiration, and in general is the most universally active and efficient element. It may be prepared in the pure state by heating potassium chlorate.This element (called dephlogisticated air by
Priestley) was named oxygen by
Lavoisierbecause he supposed it to be a constituent of all acids. This is not so in the case of a very few acids (as hydrochloric, hydrobromic, hydric sulphide, etc.), but these do contain elements analogous to oxygen in property and action. Moreover, the fact that most elements approach the nearer to acid qualities in proportion as they are combined with more oxygen, shows the great accuracy and breadth of Lavoisier’s conception of its nature.
Chlorine used in bleaching.
Webster 1828 Edition
In chimistry, oxygen or oxygen gas is an element or substance so named from its property of generating acids; it is the respirable part of air, vital air, or the basis of it; it is called the acidifying principle, and the principle or support of combustion. Modern experiments, however, prove that it is not necessary in all cases to combustion or to acidity. Oxygen is a permanently elastic fluid, invisible, inodorous, and a little heavier than atmospheric air. In union with azote or nitrogen, it forms atmospheric air, of which it constitutes about a fifth part. Water contains about 85% of it, and it exists in most vegetable and animal products, acids, salts and oxyds. It forms 50% of silex, 47 of alumin, 28 of lime, 40 of magnesia, 17 of potash, and 25 of soda.