Definition of chemical in English:


Line breaks: chem|ical
Pronunciation: /ˈkɛmɪk(ə)l


  • 1Relating to chemistry, or the interactions of substances as studied in chemistry: the chemical composition of the atmosphere
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    • The third atom can detach from the ozone molecule and reattach to molecules of other substances, changing their chemical composition.
    • In its simplest terms, a chemical standard is a substance for which the exact composition is known.
    • Elements are materials that cannot be reduced to simpler substances by normal chemical means.
  • 1.1Relating to chemicals: chemical treatments for killing fungi
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    • Just as the sweet smells of fall fill the air, the residents of the housing complex where I live are notified again - for the fourth time this year - of a chemical lawn treatment.
    • Councillors have been told that fitting water filtering and chemical treatment would cost £223,000 plus annual running costs of £45,220.
    • The hormone treatment is straightforward chemical castration - I am now impotent but it's an advantageous trade-off against a possibly fatal alternative.
  • 1.2Relating to or denoting the use of poison gas or other chemicals as weapons of war.
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    • The war that followed saw them employing chemical weapons and both sides firing ballistic missiles at major cities.
    • Aside from the nuclear variety of WMD, biological and chemical weapons pose serious dangers.
    • In previous wars it took large artillery bombardments to make chemical weapons effective.


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  • 1A distinct compound or substance, especially one which has been artificially prepared or purified: never mix disinfectant with other chemicals
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    • There is often more than one synthetic route for preparing a desired chemical.
    • Also, the chemical plant was processing ammonium nitrate, a stable chemical that requires a substantial infusion of energy to explode.
    • It stores and processes hundreds of tonnes of toxic and highly inflammable chemicals and compounds.
  • 1.1An addictive drug: [as modifier]: chemical dependency
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    • Scientists continue to explore the remarkable protective effect of nicotine - the addictive chemical in tobacco - on the brain.
    • He says he has been clean from heroin for years and now takes a prescribed opiate to combat the pain, but is desperate to get off the addictive chemical.
    • It is normally protected from chemicals and drugs by the blood-brain barrier, which acts as a filter.



More example sentences
  • It powerfully restores and deeply conditions dry, damaged and chemically treated hair giving massive shine.
  • It is thought to lower cravings for alcohol in people who have stopped drinking, but it is not exactly clear how it works chemically.
  • Many women deal with issues of power and conformity, not to mention chemically taming their hair.


late 16th century: from French chimique or modern Latin chimicus, chymicus, from medieval Latin alchymicus, from alchimia (see alchemy).

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