A pnictogen is a member of the nitrogen group of elements, Group 15 of the periodic table (formerly numbered as Group V or Group VA). This group consists of nitrogen, phosphorus, arsenic, antimony, bismuth, and ununpentium. The pnictogens are noted for their ability to form stable compounds, thanks to their tendency to form double and triple covalent bonds. The pnictogens are solids at room temperature, except for nitrogen, which is a gas.
The defining characteristic of pnictogens is that atoms of these elements have 5 electrons in their outer electron shell. There are 2 paired electrons in the s subshell and 3 unpaired electrons in the p subshell, putting these elements 3 electrons shy of filling the outermost shell.
Binary compounds from this group are termed pnictides.