Try Our Apps


What is the origin of "December"?


[kuh-tal-uh-sis] /kəˈtæl ə sɪs/
noun, plural catalyses
[kuh-tal-uh-seez] /kəˈtæl əˌsiz/ (Show IPA)
Chemistry. the causing or accelerating of a chemical change by the addition of a catalyst.
an action between two or more persons or forces, initiated by an agent that itself remains unaffected by the action:
social catalyses occasioned by controversial writings.
Origin of catalysis
1645-55; < New Latin < Greek katálȳsis dissolution, equivalent to katalȳ́(ein) to dissolve (kata- cata- + lȳ́ein to loosen) + -sis -sis
Related forms
[kat-l-it-ik] /ˌkæt lˈɪt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective, noun
catalytical, adjective
catalytically, adverb
anticatalytic, adjective, noun
anticatalytically, adverb
noncatalytic, adjective, noun
noncatalytically, adverb
self-catalysis, noun
semicatalytic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for catalytic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for catalytic


of or relating to catalysis; involving a catalyst
Derived Forms
catalytically, adverb


noun (pl) -ses (-ˌsiːz)
acceleration of a chemical reaction by the action of a catalyst
Word Origin
C17: from New Latin, from Greek katalusis, from kataluein to dissolve
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for catalytic

1836, from Latinized form of Greek katalytikos "able to dissolve," from katalyein (see catalysis).



1650s, "dissolution," from Latinized form of Greek katalysis "dissolution, a dissolving" (of governments, military units, etc.), from katalyein "to dissolve," from kata- "down" (or "completely"), see cata-, + lyein "to loosen" (see lose). Chemical sense "change caused by an agent which itself remains unchanged" is attested from 1836, introduced by Swedish chemist Jöns Jakob Berzelius (1779-1848).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
catalytic in Medicine

catalysis ca·tal·y·sis (kə-tāl'ĭ-sĭs)
n. pl. ca·tal·y·ses (-sēz')
The action of a catalyst, especially an increase in the rate of a chemical reaction.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
catalytic in Science
A substance that starts or speeds up a chemical reaction while undergoing no permanent change itself. The enzymes in saliva, for example, are catalysts in digestion.

catalytic adjective (kāt'l-ĭt'ĭk)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Word Value for catalytic

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for catalytic