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saponify Syllabification: sa·pon·i·fy
Pronunciation: /səˈpänəˌfī/

Definition of saponify in English:

verb (saponifies, saponifying, saponified)

[with object] Chemistry
1Turn (fat or oil) into soap by reaction with an alkali: (as adjective saponified) saponified vegetable oils
More example sentences
  • The purpose of an alkali is to saponify the oils and dislodge ordinary soil and other matter.
  • In this work, saponified coconut oil was used as a chemical model to explain the behavior of amphiphilic molecules in biological systems related to their mutagenesis potential.
  • Its vegetable and botanical ingredients include saponified coconut and olive oils, a natural citrus essential-oil blend, and aloe and rosemary extracts.
1.1Convert (any ester) into an alcohol and a metal salt by alkaline hydrolysis.
Example sentences
  • The resulting ester was saponified under basic conditions to the free acid, converted to the acyl chloride with thionyl chloride, and then to the amide with anhydrous ammonia gas.
  • The ethyl ester protecting groups of the tartrate were saponified in 1 M NaOH and heated at 40-45 deg C for I h.
  • A sample of the isolated anthocyanins was also saponified using the method described by Durst and Wrolstad to remove acylation.


Pronunciation: /səˈpänəˌfīəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • Most coolants and lubricants used in machining operations today are saponifiable -- that is, they can be made soluble by uniting with alkali to form soap, which is rinsed from parts relatively easily.
Pronunciation: /səˌpänəfəˈkāSH(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • Soap is a salt formed by a process called saponification - a chemical reaction between an alkali metal, like sodium, and fatty carboxylic acids.
  • It is produced through a chemical reaction, known as saponification, between triglycerides and a base, such a sodium hydroxide.
  • SCO is an anionic surfactant obtained by saponification of triglycerides extracted from Cocus nucifera and is a compound widely used in the formulation of many cosmetic and hygiene products.


Early 19th century: from French saponifier, from Latin sapo, sapon- 'soap'.

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