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I was wondering if there was a single word for what the pH scale measures, with no particular bias to either the acidic end (acidity) or basic end (basicity) of the spectrum. From Wikipedia:

In chemistry, pH (/piːˈeɪtʃ/) is a numeric scale used to specify the acidity or basicity (alkalinity) of an aqueous solution

I could not find a single word term that encompassed both acidity and basicity (or alkalinity) in the article or elsewhere , which could be used as follows:

In chemistry, pH (/piːˈeɪtʃ/) is a numeric scale used to specify the _______ of an aqueous solution

  • Is there a chemistry.SE? They might have a technical term for it. – Mitch Jan 2 '16 at 18:52
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    '... hydrogen ion concentration...'. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 2 '16 at 19:37
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    What's wrong with, "... used to specify the pH of an aqueous solution"? (Well, obviously not in the definition of pH- which is why they reverted to "acidity or basicity") – Jim Jan 2 '16 at 20:17
  • Well, obviously any term you use is going to have a bias, since either acid or alkaline will be at the low end of the spectrum. – Hot Licks Jan 2 '16 at 20:24
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    Sorry, Gaurav. I don't think that 'hydrogen ion concentration' really fits in on a general English website. By all means ask/answer on Chemistry SE, where the register is fine. Though as a chemist, I'd just use 'pH' most of the time (it obviously wouldn't work here, as Jim says). '... how acidic or alkaline ...' is probably impossible to improve on. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 2 '16 at 20:55
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A more generic term would indeed be an improvement over acidity, which for chemists is nonetheless like altitude and carries no bias when used. Same for basicity, which just doesn't happen to be a popular term. Alkalinity also refers to the entire pH range but indeed favors higher-pH occasions. Also too bad is that high acidity means low pH.

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    The abbreviation 'pH' is often used as the requested hypernym. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 2 '16 at 19:36
  • @EdwinAshworth Why do you call pH an abbreviation? Do you consider 2+2 or mc^2 abbreviations? Are they not expressions? – jejorda2 Nov 18 '16 at 18:58
  • @jejorda You are confusing numerical algebra with abbreviations. Chemistry about.com calls 'pH' an abbreviation. Collins calls it an abbreviation: <<pH in Chemical Engineering ...COBUILD ... Definitions ... abbreviation (Chemical Engineering: General) pH is a measure of acidity or alkalinity. >> Your Dictionary calls it an abbreviation. Why do you ask why I call it an abbreviation? Are sin, cos and tan etc not abbreviations? – Edwin Ashworth Nov 18 '16 at 19:13
  • I understand p as a mathematical operator on the value H, where H is the molarity of the Hydrogen ion, but I don't know what has been abbreviated- what is p "short" for? It's probably along the same line as the distinction between abbreviations and symbols. – jejorda2 Nov 18 '16 at 19:29
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In chemistry, pH (/piːˈeɪtʃ/) is a numeric scale used to specify the lability of an aqueous solution

"Lability" is often used in reference to proton exchange with acids, bases. A proton that is "highly labile" is said to dissociate from a compound easily, while "low lability" would refer to a Bronsted-Lowry base (i.e. the base wants to keep it's protons and therefore does not lose them easily).

Wikipedia doesn't have much on it but feel free to read anyway: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lability

So I might say, "This compound would make a great acid because it has a proton that is very labile." Of course, the actual effects of acidity and basicity depend on what else is in solution but I think you get it.

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Not a single word, but consider acid-base ratio.

In chemistry, pH is a numeric scale used to specify the acid-base ratio of an aqueous solution.

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