Definition of cation in English:


Syllabification: cat·i·on
Pronunciation: /ˈkatˌīən, -ˌīˌän


  • A positively charged ion, i.e., one that would be attracted to the cathode in electrolysis. The opposite of anion.
    More example sentences
    • When two atoms swap electrons to produce a cation and an anion, the two ions are attracted to each other.
    • The key step in a unimolecular reaction is the formation of the carbon cation, or carbonium ion, by the departure of the leaving group.
    • The functional groups of iron hydroxides may sequestrate some cations and anions.



Pronunciation: /ˌkatīˈänik/
More example sentences
  • The primary conditioning ingredients are cationic surfactants, silicones, and polymers.
  • More than a decade of research into nonviral gene delivery has yielded a number of synthetic cationic lipids and polymers with transfection activity.
  • The development of both cationic and anionic exchange materials did not occur until 1935.


mid 19th century: from cata- 'alongside' or from cathode, + ion.

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