One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A salt or ester of phosphoric acid, containing PO₄³⁻ or a related anion or a group such as —OPO(OH)₂.
- ‘Although the cost of these reagents is much higher than the conventional ones, the regenerant effluents can be reacted with each other to form the well-known fertilizers, ammonium and potassium nitrates and phosphates.’
- ‘Phosphoric acid and its phosphate derivatives are essential in human nutrition.’
- ‘Several formulations are available, and all are based on fertilizers such as urea, ammonium nitrate, ammoniated phosphates, potassium sulfate, potassium nitrate.’
- ‘It occurs in all kinds of minerals, such as oxides, carbonates, nitrates, sulfates, and phosphates.’
- ‘Cyano and a host of other problems can also be caused by phosphates, nitrates and nitrites in the water.’
2US dated An effervescent soft drink containing phosphoric acid, soda water, and flavoring.
- ‘Charlie was as sweet as cherry phosphate.’
- ‘When they got them, they left their phosphates, a kind of soft drink, on the table, while they went over to the salad bar and prepared their burgers, fries, and cheese logs as they liked them.’
Late 18th century: from French, from phosphore ‘phosphorus’.
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