Share this entry

denature Syllabification: de·na·ture
Pronunciation: /dēˈnāCHər/

Definition of denature in English:


[with object] (often as adjective denatured)
1Take away or alter the natural qualities of: empty verbalisms and denatured ceremonies
More example sentences
  • However, we must hold firmly to the outlines or our production will be diffuse, denatured, and ineffective, not leaving the indelible residue in the mind that an accumulation of arsenic does.
  • Curiously, the same logic also appears to be true of the tourist strip, which, in its own tacky way, is a classic example of how run-amok corporate money can leave a place wholly denatured.
  • This is music denatured: homogenised, pasteurised, and sterilised.
1.1Make (alcohol) unfit for drinking by the addition of toxic or foul-tasting substances.
Example sentences
  • A car on one of the trains is also leaking denatured alcohol, which of course, is extremely dangerous.
  • A number of cars derailed, including one that began leaking denatured alcohol.
  • Use denatured alcohol to remove dried latex paint spills or drips.
1.2 Biochemistry Destroy the characteristic properties of (a protein or other biological macromolecule) by heat, acidity, or other effects that disrupt its molecular conformation.
Example sentences
  • Experimentally, urea and guanidinium chloride are widely used as denaturant agents, but it is still not clear by which molecular mechanism they denature proteins.
  • Both these changes occur because heat denatures the myoglobin.
  • Heat stress can denature proteins, and the cell mobilizes chaperonins like a small army of physical therapists to twist everything back into its proper conformation.


Late 17th century (in the sense 'make unnatural'): from French dénaturer, from dé- (expressing reversal) + nature 'nature'.



Pronunciation: /dēˌnāCHəˈrāSH(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • However, the change in the photovoltage amplitude was at least reversible, and it seems likely that the change was not due to some irreversible denaturation.
  • This damage may occur in response to anything that will cause protein denaturation including thermal stress, osmotic stress, and chemical damage.
  • In proteins, this process results in denaturation.

Definition of denature in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day innocuous
Pronunciation: ɪˈnɒkjʊəs
not harmful or offensive