Definition of phosphor in US English:



  • 1A synthetic fluorescent or phosphorescent substance, especially any of those used to coat the screens of cathode ray tubes.

    ‘a layer of phosphor is sandwiched between two electrodes’
    count noun ‘yttrium and europium are in demand for use in phosphors for color TVs’
    as modifier ‘a phosphor screen’
    • ‘Compounds of the element are also used to make phosphors that coat the screen of television tubes and CRTs (cathode ray tubes).’
    • ‘Cerium is also used in the manufacture of lasers and phosphors used in cathode ray tubes.’
    • ‘To obtain good colour pictures on a TV screen, you need phosphors that produce rich, pure primaries.’
    • ‘Fluorescent materials can be synthetic, such as phosphors, or occur in nature, for example, fluorescent minerals.’
    • ‘This invention relates to coated particles used as phosphor particles for a phosphor screen of a display and a coating method for such particles.’
    1. 1.1
      old-fashioned term for phosphorus
      • ‘The term "phosphor" obviously is employed as well for the chemical element discovered by a Hamburg alchemist, Hennig Brand, in 1669.’


Early 17th century: from Latin phosphorus (see phosphorus).