phlogiston theory

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phlogiston Odourless, colourless and weightless material believed by early scientists to be the source of all heat and fire. Combustion was believed to involve the loss of phlogiston. The phlogiston theory was proved erroneous when the true nature of combustion was explained by French chemist Antoine Lavoisier.

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phlo·gis·ton / flōˈjistän; -tən/ • n. a substance supposed by 18th-century chemists to exist in all combustible bodies, and to be released in combustion.

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phlogiston a substance supposed by 18th-century chemists to exist in all combustible bodies, and to be released in combustion. The phlogiston theory was discredited when Antoine Lavoisier showed the true nature of oxygen.

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phlogiston (old chem.) principle of inflammability. XVIII. — Gr. phlogistón, n. of phlogistós burnt up, inflammable, f. phlogízein set on tire, f. *phlog- burn; see next.