What Does the Scientific Term "pH" Mean?

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The scientific term "pH" is an abbreviation that stands for "potential of hydrogen," which is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution.The term, which first came into use in 1909, is Germanic in origin and is derived from the word "potenz," meaning power, plus "H," which is the symbol for hydrogen on the periodic table.

The pH scale is made up of numbers from 0 through 14 and is used to determine whether a solution is an acid or a base. Numbers lower than 7 indicate acidity and numbers higher than 7 indicate alkalinity and indicate a base solution. A solution with a pH of 7 is neutral, a condition that is also known as "pH balanced."