What does saltpetre mean?

Definitions for saltpetre

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word saltpetre.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. potassium nitrate, saltpeter, saltpetre, niter, nitrenoun

    (KNO3) used especially as a fertilizer and explosive


  1. saltpetrenoun

    Potassium nitrate.

  2. saltpetrenoun

    Sodium nitrate.

  3. Etymology: From the Old French salpetre, from Late Latin sal petrae.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Saltpetrenoun


    Etymology: sal petræ, Latin; sal petre, Fr.

    Nitre, or saltpetre, having a crude and windy spirit, by the heat of the fire suddenly dilateth. Francis Bacon.

    Nitre or saltpetre, in heaps of earth, has been extracted, if they be exposed to the air, so as to be kept from rain. John Locke.


  1. saltpetre

    Potassium nitrate is a chemical compound with the chemical formula KNO3. This alkali metal nitrate salt is also known as Indian saltpetre (large deposits of which were historically mined in India). It is an ionic salt of potassium ions K+ and nitrate ions NO3−, and is therefore an alkali metal nitrate. It occurs in nature as a mineral, niter (or nitre in the UK). It is a source of nitrogen, and nitrogen was named after niter. Potassium nitrate is one of several nitrogen-containing compounds collectively referred to as saltpeter (or saltpetre in the UK).Major uses of potassium nitrate are in fertilizers, tree stump removal, rocket propellants and fireworks. It is one of the major constituents of gunpowder (black powder). In processed meats, potassium nitrate reacts with hemoglobin and myoglobin generating a red color.


  1. saltpetre

    Saltpetre, also known as potassium nitrate, is a crystalline compound with the chemical formula KNO3. It is naturally found in some soils, although it is more commonly produced industrially. Saltpetre has a variety of uses, including in fertilizers, food preservatives, and fireworks. In historical contexts, it was used in the production of gunpowder.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Saltpetrenoun

    potassium nitrate; niter; a white crystalline substance, KNO3, having a cooling saline taste, obtained by leaching from certain soils in which it is produced by the process of nitrification (see Nitrification, 2). It is a strong oxidizer, is the chief constituent of gunpowder, and is also used as an antiseptic in curing meat, and in medicine as a diuretic, diaphoretic, and refrigerant

  2. Etymology: [F. salptre, NL. sal petrae, literally, rock salt, or stone salt; so called because it exudes from rocks or walls. See Salt, and Petrify.]


  1. Saltpetre

    Saltpetre is an unincorporated community located in Wayne County, West Virginia.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Saltpetre

    sawlt-pē′tėr, n. the commercial name for nitre.—adj. Saltpē′trous. [O. Fr. salpestre—Low L. salpetra—L. sal, salt, petra, a rock.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. saltpetre

    The neutral salt; also called nitre (which see).

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. saltpetre

    Nitre, or nitrate of potassa, is composed of 54 parts nitric acid and 48 parts of potassa. It is spontaneously generated in the soil, and is a necessary ingredient of powder. It has occasionally been produced artificially in nitre-beds, formed of a mixture of calcareous soil with animal matter; in these, nitrate of lime is slowly formed, which is extracted by lixiviation and carbonate of potash added to the solution, which gives rise to the formation of nitrate of potassa and carbonate of lime; the latter is precipitated; the former remains in solution and is obtained in crystals by evaporation. Its great use is in the manufacture of gunpowder, and in the production of nitric acid. See Gunpowder.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce saltpetre?

How to say saltpetre in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of saltpetre in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of saltpetre in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for saltpetre

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for saltpetre »


Find a translation for the saltpetre definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"saltpetre." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 9 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/saltpetre>.

Discuss these saltpetre definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for saltpetre? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Credit »

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    a sophisticated person who has travelled in many countries
    • A. frantic
    • B. disjointed
    • C. cosmopolitan
    • D. opaque

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for saltpetre: