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[ad-sawrb, -zawrb] /ædˈsɔrb, -ˈzɔrb/
verb (used with object), Physical Chemistry
to gather (a gas, liquid, or dissolved substance) on a surface in a condensed layer:
Charcoal will adsorb gases.
1880-85; ad- + (ab)sorb
Related forms
adsorbable, adjective
adsorbability, noun
adsorbent, adjective, noun
[ad-sawrp-shuh n, -zawrp-] /ædˈsɔrp ʃən, -ˈzɔrp-/ (Show IPA),
adsorptive, adjective
adsorptively, adverb
Can be confused
absorb, adsorb. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for adsorption


/ədˈsɔːb; -ˈzɔːb/
to undergo or cause to undergo a process in which a substance, usually a gas, accumulates on the surface of a solid forming a thin film, often only one molecule thick: to adsorb hydrogen on nickel, oxygen adsorbs on tungsten Compare absorb (sense 8)
Derived Forms
adsorbable, adjective
adsorbability, noun
adsorption, noun
Word Origin
C19: ad- + -sorb as in absorb
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 adsorption



1882, transitive (intransitive use attested from 1919), back-formation from adsorption (1882), coined in German from ad- + -sorption, abstracted from absorption. See absorb. Related: Adsorbent; adsorption.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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adsorption in Medicine

adsorption ad·sorp·tion (ād-sôrp'shən, -zôrp'-)
The property of a solid or liquid to attract and hold to its surface a gas, liquid, solute, or suspension.

adsorb ad·sorb (ād-sôrb', -zôrb')
v. ad·sorbed, ad·sorb·ing, ad·sorbs
To take up by adsorption.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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adsorption in Science

The process by which molecules of a substance, such as a gas or a liquid, collect on the surface of another substance, such as a solid. The molecules are attracted to the surface but do not enter the solid's minute spaces as in absorption. Some drinking water filters consist of carbon cartridges that adsorb contaminants. Compare absorption.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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adsorption in Culture

adsorption definition

The assimilation of a gas, liquid, or dissolved substance by the surface of a solid.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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