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[kap-uh-lar-i-tee] /ˌkæp əˈlær ɪ ti/
Also called capillary action, capillary attraction. Physics. a manifestation of surface tension by which the portion of the surface of a liquid coming in contact with a solid is elevated or depressed, depending on the adhesive or cohesive properties of the liquid.
1820-30; capillary + -ty2
Related forms
noncapillarity, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for capillarity
  • They are enable to do so by the permeability of the cane in one direction, and by its capillarity.
  • In the unsaturated zone, density effects should be less significant due to the mitigating effects of capillarity.
  • Experimental and theoretical investigations of multiphase capillarity.
  • Small amounts of oil in the produced water can block pores because of capillarity effects.
  • As the heterogeneity of the aquifer increases, capillarity begins to dominate the intrinsic instability of a buoyant displacement.
  • The interstices either are not filled with water or are filled with water that is no held by capillarity.
British Dictionary definitions for capillarity


a phenomenon caused by surface tension and resulting in the distortion, elevation, or depression of the surface of a liquid in contact with a solid Also called capillary action
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 capillarity

1806, from French capillarité, from Latin capillaris (see capillary).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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capillarity in Medicine

capillarity cap·il·lar·i·ty (kāp'ə-lār'ĭ-tē)
The interaction between contacting surfaces of a liquid and a solid that distorts the liquid surface from a planar shape.

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