One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A colourless foul-smelling gaseous compound of phosphorus and hydrogen, analogous to ammonia.
- ‘The two main alternatives for methyl bromide in pesticides are ‘integrated commodity management’ and fumigation, which uses phosphine and carbon dioxide to kill the pests.’
- ‘Since the explosion yesterday morning, which jammed a main cargo door shut, gases including hydrogen, phosphine and arsine, a derivative of arsenic, have started venting from the cargo hold.’
- ‘The inorganic compound phosphine is very similar to ammonia in its substitution reactions.’
- ‘The suspected gasses in the SIDS deaths were; arsine from arsenic, phosphine from phosphorus, and stibine from the element antimony.’
- ‘It is believed Sir Derek took aluminium phosphide, which creates the toxic gas phosphine when it comes into contact with moisture.’
Late 19th century: from phospho- ‘relating to phosphorus’ + -ine, on the pattern of amine.
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