oxy-, -oxia, -oxic

(Greek: sharp, acute, pointed, keen; sour, acid, acidic, pungent)

oxycinesia (s) (noun), oxycinesias (pl)
A sharp pain experienced when moving: Dr. Thompson diagnosed Doug as having oxycinesia because of having pain in his muscles while doing exercises that required exertion.
oxydactyl, oxydactylic (adjective); more oxydactyl, most oxydactyl; more oxydactylic, most oxydactylic
Characterized by slender toes: Amphibians that have oxydactyl digits are specifically those with long hind legs for jumping, like the frogs or toads.
oxyecoia (s) (noun) (no pl)
Abnormal acuteness of hearing; acoustic hyperesthesia: Janet, who was diagnosed by her doctor as having oxyecoia, was so susceptible to the slightest noise or sound that she had to have a special door installed in her condo to keep out all outside noises!
oxyetherotherapy (s) (noun), oxyetherotherapies (pl)
An obsolete treatment for lung conditions: The procedure of oxyetherotherapy included the inhalation of a mixture of ether vapor and oxygen.
oxygen (s) (noun), oxygens (pl)
1. A colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is the most abundant element on earth: Oxygen makes up about 20% by volume of the atmosphere at sea level, about 50% of the material of the earth’s surface, and about 90% of water.

Oxygen is necessary for the life processes of nearly all living organisms and for most forms of combustion. It readily forms compounds with nearly all other elements except the inert gases, and it is used in blast furnaces, steel manufacture, chemical synthesis, and in resuscitation, and for many other industrial purposes.
2. Etymology: Oxygen means "acid-former". It was borrowed from French oxygene, formed in French from Greek oxus, "acid, sharp" plus French -gene, "something that produces". The French word was intended to literally mean "acidifying principle, acid-producer", because oxygen was considered to be the essential element in the formation of acids. It was coined in 1786 by the French chemists Morveau and Lavoisier though the element was earlier isolated by Joseph Priestly in 1774.

—Source of compilation:
Barnhart, Robert K., editor. The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology;
New York: The H. W. Wilson Company, 1988.


Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743-1794) named the active portion of the atmosphere oxygen (acid-producer) because it was thought that all acids contained oxygen. In 1789, the French chemist Claude-Louis Berthollet (1748-1822) showed that hydrocyanic acid and hydrosulfuric acid did not contain oxygen. To be sure, they are very weak acids, but it was eventually shown that hydrochloric acid, a strong acid, also did not contain oxygen.

—Source of information came from
Asimov, Isaac. Asimov’s Chronology of Science and Discovery;
New York; Harper and Row, Publishers; 1989; pages 236-237.


Oxygen is a constituent of animal, vegetable, and mineral substances. It is essential to respiration for most living organisms and is the most important and abundant chemical element in our biosphere. At sea level, it represents 10% to 16% of venous blood and 17% to 21% of arterial blood.

Oxygen is absorbed in a free state by most living organisms. It is produced by green plants from carbon dioxide and water during photosynthesis. Carbohydrates, such as glucose and starch, are also produced by this process. When oxygen is used in cell respiration, the end products are water and carbon dioxide, the latter of which is returned to the atmosphere; as a result, the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is maintained.

When oxygen combines with another substance, the process is called oxidation. When the combination takes place rapidly enough to produce light and heat, the process is called burning or combustion. Oxygen combines readily with other elements to form oxides.

Oxygen from a container is used in cases where there is insufficient oxygen carried by the blood to the tissues (e.g., severe anemia, shock or circulatory collapse, pulmonary edema, and pneumonia) or by mountain climbers, astronauts, or aviators when at heights where the amount of oxygen present in the atmosphere is insufficient to support life.

Frequently oxygen is employed with agents used for the induction of general anesthesia. Following extensive surgery, oxygen is said to reduce reactions to the anesthetic. It is also employed to treat septicemia, gas gangrene, peritonitis, and intestinal obstruction.

—Source of information:
Thomas, Clayton L., Editor. Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary;
Edition 18; F. A. Davis Company; Philadelphia; 1997, p. 1379.
oxygenase (s) (noun), oxygenases (pl)
An enzyme that enables an organism to use atmospheric oxygen in respiration: There are two kinds of oxygenases termed monooxygenase and dioxygenase.
oxygenate (verb), oxygenates; oxygenated; oxygenating
To combine or supply with oxygen: The biology class discovered that fish were missing in the small lake, so the students were able to oxygenate it and soon the fish were back again!
oxygenated (adjective), more oxygenated, most oxygenated
Concerning something with an adequate amount of oxygen; aerobic: After the operation, Dr. Thomas told the patient, Mr. Jackson, that the implanted stent would ensure a constant flow of oxygenated blood to the muscles of his heart.
oxygenation (s) (noun), oxygenations (pl)
A procedure regarding a saturation of, or a combination with oxygen: Oxygenation is necessary for aeration of the blood in the lungs to take place successfully.
oxygenator (s) (noun), oxygenators (pl)
A device for mechanically oxygenating anything, but especially blood: An oxygenator is needed during thoracic surgery or when open-heart surgery is performed.
oxygenic (adjective), more oxygenic, most oxygenic
Concerning, resembling, containing, or consisting of oxygen: Plants can be considered to be oxygenic because they convert carbon dioxide into oxygen through a process called photosynthesis.
oxygenotaxis (s) (noun), oxygenotaxes (pl)
A directed response of a motile organism towards or away from an oxygen stimulus; aerotaxis: The changes in the amount of oxygen concentration in air, for example, has an influence on bacterial movement, also termed oxygenotaxis, or on other organisms.
oxygenotropic (adjective), more oxygenotropic, most oxygenotropic
Concerning the movement of a plant growing either towards or away from oxygen; aerotropic: Oxygenotropic organisms are those that move in connection with, or in relation to, a source of oxygen.
oxygenotropism (s) (noun) (no pl)
An orientation movement induced by an oxygen gradient stimulus; aerotropism: Oxygenotropism refers to the growth of a plant in the direction of air or oxygen.
oxygeophilous (adjective), more oxygeophilous, most oxygeophilous
In biology, thriving in humus-rich habitats: Mrs. Smith wanted to get only oxygeophilous plants for her garden which had very good soil that contained partly decomposed organic matter.

Cross references of word families that are related directly, or indirectly, to: "sour, sharp": acerb-; aceto-; acid-; acies- (not "sour"); acuto- (not "sour"); pung- (not "sour").