white phosphorus

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white phosphorus

n.
A highly unstable, waxy white or yellowish allotrope of phosphorus, P4, that spontaneously ignites upon exposure to oxygen, used especially in bombs and artillery shells as an incendiary agent or to produce a smokescreen.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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