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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.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈpɒt.æʃ/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈpɑt.æʃ/
  • (file)
  • 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.
    Hypernym: ash
    Coordinate term: fly ash
  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".
    permanganate of potashpotassium permanganate
  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]