Definition of chain reaction in English:

Share this entry

chain reaction


1A chemical reaction or other process in which the products themselves promote or spread the reaction.
Example sentences
  • It can protect the polyunsaturated fatty acids in cell membranes from the autocatalytic chain reaction of lipid peroxidation.
  • Thousands or hundreds of thousands or even millions of these monomer fragments then add to each other in a chain reaction to form polymers.
  • The entire process is the chain reaction called lipid peroxidation.
1.1The self-sustaining fission reaction spread by neutrons which occurs in nuclear reactors and bombs.
Example sentences
  • Because fission releases additional neutrons, a chain reaction can take place.
  • On 2 December 1942, in a laboratory under the university football stadium, Fermi achieved the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.
  • This free neutron then causes a chain reaction which releases a huge amount of energy.
1.2A series of events, each caused by the previous one: the wine provoked a chain reaction of memories
More example sentences
  • Welcome to the British Islands… the North Sea archipelago that could be left if global warming starts a chain reaction of events contributing to rising seas.
  • The mayor William and Lea began to talk about the weekend event, starting a chain reaction of conversations.
  • When I read about food, sometimes a single word is enough to detonate a chain reaction of associative memories.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: chain re|ac¦tion

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.