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.
- ‘It occurs in all kinds of minerals, such as oxides, carbonates, nitrates, sulfates, and phosphates.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Cyano and a host of other problems can also be caused by phosphates, nitrates and nitrites in the water.’
- ‘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.’
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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