Share this entry

Share this page

detergent

Syllabification: de·ter·gent
Pronunciation: /dəˈtərjənt
 
/

Definition of detergent in English:

noun

1A water-soluble cleansing agent that combines with impurities and dirt to make them more soluble and differs from soap in not forming a scum with the salts in hard water.
Example sentences
  • Since soap and detergents are salts, they separate into their component ions in a solution of water.
  • When using washing-machine water, combine the rinse-cycle water with the wash-cycle water to dilute the detergent and bleaching agents.
  • It is important to note that the molecular weights of the detergents differ.
1.1Any additive with an action similar to a detergent, e.g., an oil-soluble substance that holds dirt in suspension in lubricating oil.
Example sentences
  • A lower level of detergent may cause a buildup of deposits on critical engine parts.
  • A gasoline detergent is a lot like a household detergent, helping to prevent any harmful deposit build-up.

adjective

Back to top  
Of or relating to detergent compounds or their action: staining that resists detergent action
More example sentences
  • Water is a fabulous cleaning agent, but it's even better when tiny nanoscale particles, such as detergent surfactants, are dispersed in it.
  • This is mainly the result of hydrophobic partitioning of individual detergent molecules at lipid and protein-lipid interfaces.
  • Indeed, there was preliminary evidence for a dimeric arrangement of CitS in detergent micelles and lipid membranes.

Origin

early 17th century (as an adjective): from Latin detergent- 'wiping away', from the verb detergere, from de- 'away from' + tergere 'to wipe'.

More
  • This was formed from the Latin verb detergere, from de- ‘away from’ and tergere ‘to wipe’.

Derivatives

detergence

1
noun
Example sentences
  • Enzymatic detergence is one of the rare truly efficient systems for the elimination of bacterial biofilms.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide is used for its oxidizing properties in many applications, including paper and textile bleaching, detergence, and effluent treatment.

detergency

2
noun
Example sentences
  • Among its disadvantages is the fact that its high detergency can loosen debris in fuel systems that formerly used petroleum diesel, clogging fuel filters for a while if they're not carefully watched.
  • The proposed mechanisms underlying detergency include any of the physiological consequences listed above as well as yet undescribed ones.
  • Another reason that good detergency and surfactancy is important is that water is limited in its cleaning power.

Words that rhyme with detergent

convergent, divergent, emergent, insurgent, resurgent, urgent

Definition of detergent in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

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 terpsichorean
Pronunciation: ˌtəːpsɪkəˈriːən
adjective
relating to dancing