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[Middle English salpetre, from Old French, from Medieval Latin sālpetrae : Latin sāl, salt; see sal- in Indo-European roots + Latin petrae, genitive of petra, rock (from Greek petrā; see per- in Indo-European roots).]


or salt•pe•tre

(ˌsɔltˈpi tər)

naturally occurring potassium nitrate, used in making fireworks, gunpowder, etc.; niter.
[1275–1325; < Medieval Latin salpetra, literally, salt of rock]


ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.saltpeter - (KNO3) used especially as a fertilizer and explosive
fertiliser, fertilizer, plant food - any substance such as manure or a mixture of nitrates used to make soil more fertile
nitrate - any compound containing the nitrate group (such as a salt or ester of nitric acid)
References in classic literature ?
Over the whole field, previously so gaily beautiful with the glitter of bayonets and cloudlets of smoke in the morning sun, there now spread a mist of damp and smoke and a strange acid smell of saltpeter and blood.
Gunpowder was not invented by any one; it was the lineal successor of the Greek fire, which, like itself, was composed of sulfur and saltpeter.
Neither metals, saltpeter, nor coal can fail in the depths of the moon, and we need only go 8,000 leagues in order to fall upon the terrestrial globe by virtue of the mere laws of weight.
Whether it was that his blood was bad, or there had been a cut, he could not say; but he asked the men about it, and learned that it was a regular thing--it was the saltpeter.
A week later, March 15, 1897, there are more references to money, gunpowder, saltpeter, guns and cartridges urgently needed.
In the bustling city of Bristol, Joachim plans to develop new ways to make saltpeter, a necessary item for the English Navy.
Chile and Peru are the global leaders in the production of sodium nitrate; that is why it is also known as Chile or Peru saltpeter.
The Zoque poet Mikeas Sanchez demonstrates how the indigenous poetry of Mexico weaves the ancient with such contemporary imagery as "My memory is the black box of a plane without return / How did it reach the libation of sea water of such sweet saltpeter," as rendered into English by Shook.
Author David Cressy begins with a pungent introduction to early modern saltpeter production, a process based on the collection and treatment of earth enriched with decomposing human and animal waste.
Unmarried male faculty and unmarried male students should be required to take supervised doses of saltpeter every morning just before morning chapel.
Ammonium saltpeter as a source of ammonium nitrate (AN) is widely used as a major component of modern energy condensed systems--explosives which do no contain TNT for the mining industry.
The author has organized the main body of his text in nineteen chapters focused on early visitors to the Grassy Cove Caves, Devilstep Hollow Cave, Grassy Cove Saltpeter Cave, saltpeter mining in Grassy Cove Saltpeter Cave, and a variety of other related subjects.