Definition of catalyse in English:


Line breaks: cata|lyse
Pronunciation: /ˈkat(ə)lʌɪz
(US catalyze)


[with object]
  • 1Cause or accelerate (a reaction) by acting as a catalyst: the enzyme catalyses the oxidation of acetaldehyde
    More example sentences
    • This reaction is catalyzed by the enzyme citrate synthase.
    • In both cases the nitric oxide is produced by a reaction from a chemical called L-arginine. The chemical reaction is catalysed by an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase.
    • However, studies have shown that lead, like other heavy metals, inactivates enzymes (proteins that catalyze biochemical reactions).
  • 1.1Cause (an action or process) to begin: the introduction of the canal and the railway catalysed the city’s industrial growth
    More example sentences
    • Water is a major issue that can catalyze the peace process or inhibit it.
    • In doing so, she catalyses a process of reconnection and healing where there had previously been tight-lipped repression.
    • Calling in the IMF will do nothing more than catalyse this process, given the Fund's past form in this area.


late 19th century: from catalysis, on the pattern of analyse.

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