Pronunciation: (ō'zōn, ō-zōn'), [key]
a form of oxygen, O3, with a peculiar odor suggesting that of weak chlorine, produced when an electric spark or ultraviolet light is passed through air or oxygen. It is found in the atmosphere in minute quantities, esp. after a thunderstorm, is a powerful oxidizing agent, and is thus biologically corrosive. In the upper atmosphere, it absorbs ultraviolet rays, thereby preventing them from reaching the surface of the earth. It is used for bleaching, sterilizing water, etc.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.