Definition of chain reaction in English:

chain reaction

Syllabification: chain re·ac·tion


  • 1A chemical reaction or other process in which the products themselves promote or spread the reaction, which under certain conditions may accelerate dramatically.
    More 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 that occurs in nuclear reactors and bombs.
    More 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: an article in one publication sets off a chain reaction in the media
    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.

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