One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A colorless, flammable, highly poisonous gas made by oxidizing hydrogen cyanide. One of the pseudohalogens, cyanogen is an intermediate in fertilizer manufacture.
- ‘The spectra that are observed indicate that small molecules, such as cyanide, methane, and cyanogen, can assemble in outer space.’
- ‘Years earlier scientists had detected cyanogen, a poisonous gas, in the tail of a comet.’
- ‘The roots of the cassava plant contain linamarin, a cyanogen which produces the poisonous chemical cyanide when eaten.’
- ‘Sodium nitroprusside is metabolized into cyanogen, which is converted into thiocyanate by the enzyme thiosulfate sulfurtransferase.’
- ‘Cytosine can be formed by reacting cyanoacetylene with cyanate, cyanogen or urea, and uracil can be produced by the hydrolysis of cytosine.’
Early 19th century: from French cyanogène, from Greek kuanos ‘dark blue mineral’ + -gène (see -gen), so named because it is a constituent of Prussian blue.
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