oxy-, -oxia, -oxic

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

oxyetherotherapy
An obsolete treatment for lung conditions by the inhalation of a mixture of ether vapor with oxygen.
oxygen
A colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is the most abundant element on earth, making 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.

Etymologically, 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
An enzyme that enables an organism to use atmospheric oxygen in respiration.
oxygenate
To combine or supply with oxygen.
oxygenated
With adequate available oxygen; aerobic.
oxygenation
A saturation of or a combination with oxygen, as with the aeration of the blood in the lungs.
oxygenator
A device for mechanically oxygenating anything; but especially, blood. When used to oxygenate blood, it is usually used during thoracic surgery or open-heart surgery.
oxygenic
Concerning, resembling, containing, or consisting of oxygen.
oxygenotaxis, oxygenotactic
A directed response of a motile organism towards or away from an oxygen stimulus.
oxygenotropism, oxygenotropic
An orientation movement induced by an oxygen gradient stimulus.
oxygeophilous
In biology, thriving in humus-rich habitats.
oxygeophyte
A plant growing in humus.
oxygeophytic
Pertaining to plant communities in humus-rich habitats.
oxygeusia (ahk" si GYOO see uh), oxygeustic
An excessive sharpness or acuteness of the sense of taste.
oxygnathous
Having more or less sharp jaws.

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").