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[sin-thuh-sis] /ˈsɪn θə sɪs/
noun, plural syntheses
[sin-thuh-seez] /ˈsɪn θəˌsiz/ (Show IPA)
the combining of the constituent elements of separate material or abstract entities into a single or unified entity (opposed to analysis, ) the separating of any material or abstract entity into its constituent elements.
a complex whole formed by combining.
Chemistry. the forming or building of a more complex substance or compound from elements or simpler compounds.
Philosophy. the third stage of argument in Hegelian dialectic, which reconciles the mutually contradictory first two propositions, thesis and antithesis.
Biology, modern synthesis, a consolidation of the results of various lines of investigation from the 1920s through the 1950s that supported and reconciled the Darwinian theory of evolution and the Mendelian laws of inheritance in terms of natural selection acting on genetic variation.
Psychology, Psychiatry. the integration of traits, attitudes, and impulses to create a total personality.
1580-90; < Latin < Greek sýnthesis, equivalent to syn- syn- + the- (stem of tithénai to put, place) + -sis -sis
Related forms
synthesist, noun
nonsynthesis, noun, plural nonsyntheses.
resynthesis, noun, plural resyntheses.
Can be confused
antithesis, synthesis, thesis.

Hegelian dialectic

an interpretive method, originally used to relate specific entities or events to the absolute idea, in which some assertible proposition (thesis) is necessarily opposed by an equally assertible and apparently contradictory proposition (antithesis) the mutual contradiction being reconciled on a higher level of truth by a third proposition (synthesis) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for synthesis
  • We count papers, compute rankings and indices, and seem not to care one whit about synthesis or overview.
  • Engineering requires creative, original, synthesis and invention.
  • Moreover, in practice, a synthesis between the two positions is emerging.
  • The company also collaborated with other researchers to develop processes to automate the synthesis of radiotracers.
  • There seems to be more synthesis of new ideas and information, and for me this is both more interesting and more satisfying.
  • It seems you are not too familiar with organic chemical synthesis and pharmacology.
  • Now astronomers are on the verge of a similar synthesis for galaxies.
  • One consequence of this is the synthesis of different proteins and enzymes.
  • And incredibly, they don't require laborious synthesis to combine their millions of atoms: they literally build themselves.
  • The gene probably controls the synthesis of a key protein in pacemaker neurons, which regulate the body's clock.
British Dictionary definitions for synthesis


noun (pl) -ses (-ˌsiːz)
the process of combining objects or ideas into a complex whole Compare analysis
the combination or whole produced by such a process
the process of producing a compound by a chemical reaction or series of reactions, usually from simpler or commonly available starting materials
(linguistics) the use of inflections rather than word order and function words to express the syntactic relations in a language Compare analysis (sense 5)
(philosophy, archaic) synthetic reasoning
  1. (in the writings of Kant) the unification of one concept with another not contained in it Compare analysis (sense 7)
  2. the final stage in the Hegelian dialectic, that resolves the contradiction between thesis and antithesis
Derived Forms
synthesist, noun
Word Origin
C17: via Latin from Greek sunthesis, from suntithenai to put together, from syn- + tithenai to place

Hegelian dialectic

/hɪˈɡeɪlɪan, heɪˈɡiː-/
(philosophy) an interpretive method in which the contradiction between a proposition (thesis) and its antithesis is resolved at a higher level of truth (synthesis)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for synthesis

1610s, from Latin synthesis "collection, set, composition (of a medication)," from Greek synthesis "composition," from syntithenai "put together, combine," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + tithenai "put, place," from PIE root *dhe- "to put, to do" (see factitious).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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synthesis in Medicine

synthesis syn·the·sis (sĭn'thĭ-sĭs)
n. pl. syn·the·ses (-sēz')

  1. The combining of separate elements or substances to form a coherent whole.

  2. Formation of a chemical compound from simpler compounds or elements.

  3. A period in the cell cycle.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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synthesis in Science
Plural syntheses (sĭn'thĭ-sēz')
The formation of a chemical compound through the combination of simpler compounds or elements.

synthesize verb
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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synthesis in Technology

programming, specification
The process of deriving (efficient) programs from (clear) specifications.
See also program transformation.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Encyclopedia Article for synthesis

in philosophy, the combination of parts, or elements, in order to form a more complete view or system. The coherent whole that results is considered to show the truth more completely than would a mere collection of parts. The term synthesis also refers, in the dialectical philosophy of the 19th-century German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel, to the higher stage of truth that combines the truth of a thesis and an antithesis. Jean-Paul Sartre's philosophy underscores an existential type of synthesis. In Being and Nothingness, consciousness (pour-soi) is always trying to become being (en-soi), to achieve a synthesis, as it were, between no-thing and some-thing.

Learn more about synthesis with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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