powder, any mass of fine particles or dust prepared by various mechanical means, e.g., grinding of solid substances, or by chemical means, e.g., precipitation from solutions. In a special sense, the word is applied to powdered propellant explosives, e.g., gunpowder, and to powdered substances that produce a bright light when ignited. See explosive.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.