A phosphor is any material that, when exposed to radiation, emits visible light. The radiation might be ultraviolet light or a beam of electrons. Any fluorescent color is really a phosphor -- fluorescent colors absorb invisible ultraviolet light and emit visible light at a characteristic color.
In a CRT, phosphor coats the inside of the screen. When the electron beam strikes the phosphor, it makes the screen glow. In a black-and-white screen, there is one phosphor that glows white when struck. In a color screen, there are three phosphors arranged as dots or stripes that emit red, green and blue light. There are also three electron beams to illuminate the three different colors together.
There are thousands of different phosphors that have been formulated. They are characterized by their emission color and the length of time emission lasts after they are excited.