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.

    • ‘Fluorescent materials can be synthetic, such as phosphors, or occur in nature, for example, fluorescent minerals.’
    • ‘To obtain good colour pictures on a TV screen, you need phosphors that produce rich, pure primaries.’
    • ‘Cerium is also used in the manufacture of lasers and phosphors used in cathode ray tubes.’
    • ‘This invention relates to coated particles used as phosphor particles for a phosphor screen of a display and a coating method for such particles.’
    • ‘Compounds of the element are also used to make phosphors that coat the screen of television tubes and CRTs (cathode ray tubes).’
    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).