Definition of detergent in English:

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Pronunciation: /dəˈtərjənt/


1A water-soluble cleansing agent that combines with impurities and dirt to make them more soluble and differs from soap in not forming a scum with the salts in hard water.
Example sentences
  • Since soap and detergents are salts, they separate into their component ions in a solution of water.
  • When using washing-machine water, combine the rinse-cycle water with the wash-cycle water to dilute the detergent and bleaching agents.
  • It is important to note that the molecular weights of the detergents differ.
1.1Any additive with an action similar to a detergent, e.g., an oil-soluble substance that holds dirt in suspension in lubricating oil.
Example sentences
  • A lower level of detergent may cause a buildup of deposits on critical engine parts.
  • A gasoline detergent is a lot like a household detergent, helping to prevent any harmful deposit build-up.


Relating to detergent compounds or their action: staining that resists detergent action
More example sentences
  • Water is a fabulous cleaning agent, but it's even better when tiny nanoscale particles, such as detergent surfactants, are dispersed in it.
  • This is mainly the result of hydrophobic partitioning of individual detergent molecules at lipid and protein-lipid interfaces.
  • Indeed, there was preliminary evidence for a dimeric arrangement of CitS in detergent micelles and lipid membranes.



Example sentences
  • Enzymatic detergence is one of the rare truly efficient systems for the elimination of bacterial biofilms.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide is used for its oxidizing properties in many applications, including paper and textile bleaching, detergence, and effluent treatment.


Example sentences
  • Among its disadvantages is the fact that its high detergency can loosen debris in fuel systems that formerly used petroleum diesel, clogging fuel filters for a while if they're not carefully watched.
  • The proposed mechanisms underlying detergency include any of the physiological consequences listed above as well as yet undescribed ones.
  • Another reason that good detergency and surfactancy is important is that water is limited in its cleaning power.


Early 17th century (as an adjective): from Latin detergent- 'wiping away', from the verb detergere, from de- 'away from' + tergere 'to wipe'.

  • This was formed from the Latin verb detergere, from de- ‘away from’ and tergere ‘to wipe’.

Words that rhyme with detergent

convergent, divergent, emergent, insurgent, resurgent, urgent
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