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See also: Potash


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Calque of Dutch potas, coined in 1598, equivalent to pot +‎ ash. The literal translation is “pot ash”, because it was made by burning wood to ashes in a large pot. First attested in 1648. Doublet of potassium and potassa.


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈpɒt.æʃ/
  • Rhymes: -æʃ
    • (file)


potash (countable and uncountable, plural potashes)

  1. The water-soluble part of the ash formed by burning plant material; used for making soap and glass and as a fertilizer.
  2. (chemistry) An impure form of potassium carbonate (K2CO3) mixed with other potassium salts.
  3. (chemistry, archaic) Potassium. Chiefly used in the names of compounds of the form "... of potash".
  4. A class of potassium minerals, of similar applicability to potassium carbonate, such as being a fertilizer. (ie. potassium chloride, potassium hydroxide)

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potash (third-person singular simple present potashes, present participle potashing, simple past and past participle potashed)

  1. To treat with potassium.
    • 1910, Platers' Guide: With which is Combined Brass World:
      In order to ascertain the difference between the rapidity of pickling when the tin frames had been potashed and pickling without such treatment, two batches were used.
    • 1915, Metal Finishing: Preparation, Electroplating, Coating:
      Gold ornaments are sand blasted or steel brushed nicely, then potashed,
    • 1953, Nature Magazine, page 223:
      After removal from a worker bee they should be potashed in ten percent potassium hydroxide, washed, dehydrated, cleared, and mounted.
    • 2003, Senckenbergiana biologica, page 136:
      For the extraction of the internal sclerites the aedeagus was potashed in cold saturated KOH solution for several hours and transferred to a vial of distilled water.


  • Krueger, Dennis (December 1982). "Why On Earth Do They Call It Throwing?" Studio Potter Vol. 11, Number 1.[1]