nitrogen (n.) Look up nitrogen at
1794, from French nitrogène, coined 1790 by French chemist Jean Antoine Chaptal (1756-1832), from comb. form of Greek nitron "sodium carbonate" (see nitro-) + French gène "producing," from Greek -gen "giving birth to" (see -gen). The gas was identified in part by analysis of nitre. Earlier name (1772) was mephitic air, and Lavoisier called it azote (see azo-).