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Ferrous, in chemical science, indicates a bivalent iron compound (+2 oxidation state), as opposed to ferric, which indicates a trivalent iron compound (+3 oxidation state).[1]

Outside of chemical science, ferrous is an adjective used to indicate the presence of iron.[1] The word is derived from the Latin word ferrum ("iron").[2] Ferrous metals include steel and pig iron (with a carbon content of a few percent) and alloys of iron with other metals (such as stainless steel).

The term non-ferrous is used to indicate metals other than iron and alloys that do not contain an appreciable amount of iron.[3]

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Simple English

Ferrous is an adjective coming from the Latin ferrum (iron). One uses this word to indicate the presence of iron, mostly in metallurgy or related industries. There are also non-ferrous metals, which are metals that have no iron in them at all.

Ferrous can also refer to iron in its +2 oxidation state.

"Ferrous" is also the name of a song by Peter Gabriel.

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