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An archaic term for a hypothetical material related to combustion. By the end of the 18th century, the existence of phlogiston was discounted by Lavoisier's theory of combustion as a chemical reaction. Reading of the term phlogiston in old texts can sometimes be understood by substituting the term 'hydrogen' when it refers to the source of combustible or the term 'radiation' when it refers to the components (heat, color, etc.) released by a material when burned.