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catalyst

Syllabification: cat·a·lyst
Pronunciation: /ˈkad(ə)ləst
 
/

Definition of catalyst in English:

noun

1A substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change.
Example sentences
  • The key tools will be new breeds of enzymes - protein catalysts that speed up chemical reactions in cells.
  • Most converters use platinum or palladium metal catalysts that convert carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons to carbon dioxide and water vapor.
  • Heterogeneous catalysts are materials that increase the rate of a reaction, but are not in the same phase as the reactants.
1.1A person or thing that precipitates an event: the governor’s speech acted as a catalyst for debate
More example sentences
  • Though the film is around these two men, it is the women who play the catalyst to all the events and add momentum to the story.
  • It is the union of the latter two that provides the catalyst for the events that follow.
  • In Scotland, it has always been Catholic schools which have been the catalyst for this debate.
Synonyms
stimulus, stimulation, spark, sparkplug, spur, incitement, impetus

Origin

early 20th century: from catalysis, on the pattern of analyst.

Words that rhyme with catalyst

philatelist

Definition of catalyst in:

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