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saponin Line breaks: sap|onin
Pronunciation: /ˈsapənɪn/

Definition of saponin in English:


[mass noun] Chemistry
1A toxic compound which is present in soapwort and makes foam when shaken with water.
Example sentences
  • Both the roots and leaves of the Soapwort contain saponin and when stirred in water produce a lather which may be used for washing.
  • Bouncing Bet has long been used as a cleaning agent because the roots contain saponin, which lathers with water.
  • The group attempted to buy 500 kg of saponin, which could be mixed with ricin or another toxin to cause widespread poisoning if the concoction was smeared on surfaces in public places.
1.1 [count noun] Any of the class of steroid and terpenoid glycosides which foam when shaken with water, examples of which are used in detergents and foam fire extinguishers.
Example sentences
  • The major compounds extracted by water were amino acids, peptides, saponins, phenol glycosides, tannins, and alkaloids.
  • It contains a number of active constituents including flavonoids, catechins, triterpene saponins, amines, and oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs).
  • Structurally, avicins are part of a greater family of molecules called triterpenoid saponins.


Mid 19th century: from French saponine, from Latin sapo, sapon- 'soap'.

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