A colorless, tasteless, odorless, gaseous element occurring in the free state in the atmosphere, of which it forms about 23 per cent by weight and about 21 per cent by volume, being slightly heavier than nitrogen. Symbol O. Atomic weight 15.96.
- A nonmetallic element constituting 21 percent of the atmosphere by volume that occurs as a diatomic gas, O2, and in many compounds such as water and iron ore. It combines with most elements, is essential for plant and animal respiration, and is required for nearly all combustion. Atomic number 8; atomic weight 15.9994; melting point -218.4°C; boiling point -183.0°C; gas density at 0°C 1.429 grams per liter; valence 2. See Table at element.