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[mi-sel] /mɪˈsɛl/
Physical Chemistry. an electrically charged particle formed by an aggregate of molecules and occurring in certain colloidal electrolyte solutions, as those of soaps and detergents.
1880-85; < New Latin mīcella, equivalent to Latin mīc(a) crumb, grain + -ella -elle
Related forms
micellar, adjective
micellarly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for micelles
  • Emulsified droplets then are organized into many micelles which increases absorption.
  • The voluminosity of bovine casein micelles and some of its implications.
British Dictionary definitions for micelles


  1. a charged aggregate of molecules of colloidal size in a solution
  2. any molecular aggregate of colloidal size, such as a particle found in coal
Derived Forms
micellar, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin micella, diminutive of Latin mīca crumb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for micelles


in physical chemistry, a loosely bound aggregation of several tens or hundreds of atoms, ions (electrically charged atoms), or molecules, forming a colloidal particle-i.e., one of a number of ultramicroscopic particles dispersed through some continuous medium. Micelles are important in the chemistry of surfaces-e.g., the power of soap solutions to disperse organic compounds insoluble or only slightly soluble in water is explained as a property of micelles.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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