Etymology
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phosphorus (n.)

1640s, "substance or organism that shines of itself," from Latin phosphorus "light-bringing," also "the morning star" (a sense attested in English from 1620), from Greek Phosphoros "morning star," literally "torchbearer," from phōs "light," contraction of phaos "light, daylight" (related to phainein "to show, to bring to light," from PIE root *bha- (1) "to shine") + phoros "bearer," from pherein "to carry" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children").

As the name of a solid, non-metallic, combustible chemical element, it is recorded from 1680, originally one among several substances so called; the word used exclusively of the element from c. 1750. It was discovered in 1669 by Henning Brand, merchant and alchemist of Hamburg, who derived it from urine. Lavoisier demonstrated it was an element in 1777. According to Flood, "It is the first element whose discoverer is known."

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phosphate (n.)

a salt of phosphoric acid, 1795, from French phosphate (1787), from phosphore (see phosphorus) + -ate (3). Related: Phosphatic.

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Phosphor (n.)

"the morning star, Lucifer," 1630s, from Latin Phosphorus "the morning star," literally "light-bringing" (see phosphorus). Meaning "anything phosphorescent" is from 1705.

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phosphorous (adj.)

1777, "phosphorescent," from phosphorus + -ous. The chemical sense of "pertaining to, obtained from, or containing phosphorus" (1794) is immediately from French phosphoreux.

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phosphorescent (adj.)

shining with a faint light or luminosity like that of phosphorus, luminous without sensible heat," "1766, from Modern Latin phosphorus (see phosphorus) + -escent. Related: Phosphorescently.

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*bha- (1)

*bhā-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to shine."

It forms all or part of: aphotic; bandolier; banner; banneret; beacon; beckon; buoy; diaphanous; emphasis; epiphany; fantasia; fantasy; hierophant; pant (v.); -phane; phanero-; phantasm; phantasmagoria; phantom; phase; phene; phenetic; pheno-; phenology; phenomenon; phenyl; photic; photo-; photocopy; photogenic; photograph; photon; photosynthesis; phosphorus; phaeton; sycophant; theophany; tiffany; tryptophan.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhati "shines, glitters;" Greek phainein "bring to light, make appear," phantazein "make visible, display;" Old Irish ban "white, light, ray of light."

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*bher- (1)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to carry," also "to bear children."

It forms all or part of: Aberdeen; amphora; anaphora; aquifer; auriferous; bairn; barrow (n.1) "frame for carrying a load;" bear (v.); bearing; Berenice; bier; birth; bring; burden (n.1) "a load;" carboniferous; Christopher; chromatophore; circumference; confer; conference; conifer; cumber; cumbersome; defer (v.2) "yield;" differ; difference; differentiate; efferent; esophagus; euphoria; ferret; fertile; Foraminifera; forbear (v.); fossiliferous; furtive; indifferent; infer; Inverness; Lucifer; metaphor; odoriferous; offer; opprobrium; overbear; paraphernalia; periphery; pestiferous; pheromone; phoresy; phosphorus; Porifera; prefer; proffer; proliferation; pyrophoric; refer; reference; semaphore; somniferous; splendiferous; suffer; transfer; vociferate; vociferous.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bharati "he carries, brings," bhrtih "a bringing, maintenance;" Avestan baraiti "carries;" Old Persian barantiy "they carry;" Armenian berem "I carry;" Greek pherein "to carry," pherne "dowry;" Latin ferre "to bear, carry," fors (genitive fortis) "chance, luck," perhaps fur "a thief;" Old Irish beru/berim "I catch, I bring forth," beirid "to carry;" Old Welsh beryt "to flow;" Gothic bairan "to carry;" Old English and Old High German beran, Old Norse bera "barrow;" Old Church Slavonic birati "to take;" Russian brat' "to take," bremya "a burden," beremennaya "pregnant."

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phosphoric (adj.)

"pertaining to, obtained from, or resembling phosphorus," 1770, from French phosphorique, from phosphore (see phosphorous). Related: Phosphorical (1753).

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meiosis (n.)

in biology, "division of a cell nucleus," 1905, from Greek meiosis "a lessening," from meioun "to lessen," from meion "less," from PIE root *mei- (2) "small."

Earlier (1580s) it was a rhetorical term, a figure of speech "weak or negative expression used for a positive and forcible one, so that it may be made all the more emphatic," as when one says "not bad" meaning "very good" or "don't mind if I do" meaning "I really would like to," or this example from "Mark Twain":

"YOUNG AUTHOR." — Yes Agassiz does recommend authors to eat fish, because the phosphorus in it makes brains. So far you are correct. But I cannot help you to a decision about the amount you need to eat,—at least, not with certainty. If the specimen composition you send is about your fair usual average, I should judge that perhaps a couple of whales would be all you would want for the present. Not the largest kind, but simply good, middling-sized whales.

 Related: meiotic; meiotically.

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