A term used to characterize the degree of @O04362@ (or reduction) in atoms, molecules and ions. It can be applied to an atom in a molecule or an ion which has a high @O04365@. An element or atom in a compound can be oxidized by reaction with oxygen, while it can be reduced by reaction with hydrogen. An oxidized species may be formed also through the loss of electrons (either to the positive electrode in a cell, or through transfer to another atom or group of atoms). For example, the sulfur in H2S is reduced sulfur relative to elementary sulfur, while SO2 and SO3 are oxidized. Metallic iron (Fe) is a reduced state of iron, while the Fe2+ ion (ferrous ion) and Fe3+ ion (ferric ion) are oxidized states of iron. Fe3+ is in a higher @O04365@ than Fe2+ which is in a higher @O04365@ than Fe.