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[kem-i-kuh l] /ˈkɛm ɪ kəl/
a substance produced by or used in a chemical process.
chemicals, Slang. narcotic or mind-altering drugs or substances.
of, used in, produced by, or concerned with chemistry or chemicals:
a chemical formula; chemical agents.
used in chemical warfare:
chemical weapons.
1570-80; chemic + -al1; replacing chimical chemic
Related forms
chemically, adverb
nonchemical, adjective, noun
prechemical, adjective
pseudochemical, adjective
semichemical, adjective
semichemically, adverb
superchemical, adjective, noun
superchemically, adverb
unchemical, adjective
unchemically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for chemicals
  • So if you don't feel safe using chemicals around your family, don't use them around your pets.
  • Most gardeners now don't have time for such tedious chores, or aren't willing to use so many chemicals.
  • Control pests and diseases with nonchemical methods or low-toxicity chemicals and by choosing varieties that resist disease.
  • Additional pressings, often with heat or chemicals, produce lesser-quality oils.
  • Selling fruits and veggies in boxes that don't leach chemicals into landfills sounds equally wonderful.
  • Birds produce chemicals that they spread over their feathers to protect themselves from pathogens.
  • And there are increasing reports on the human health effects of chemicals used in plastic products.
  • They can clean a tiny shrew, for example, without damaging the delicate bones the way chemicals and enzymes can.
  • However, bird skeletons are so tiny and fragile that chemicals damage the bones, destroying the specimen's scientific value.
  • Using blank parchment he cut from an old rent roll, he used ink diluted with bookbinders' chemicals to write a new deed.
British Dictionary definitions for chemicals


any substance used in or resulting from a reaction involving changes to atoms or molecules, especially one derived artificially for practical use
of or used in chemistry: chemical balance
of, made from, or using chemicals: chemical fertilizer
Derived Forms
chemically, adverb
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 chemicals



1570s, "relating to chemistry," from chemic "of alchemy" (a worn-down derivative of Medieval Latin alchimicus; see alchemy) + -al (1). In early use also of alchemy. Related: Chemically.


1747, from chemical (adj.). Related: Chemicals.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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chemicals in Medicine

chemical chem·i·cal (kěm'ĭ-kəl)
Abbr. chem.

  1. Of or relating to chemistry.

  2. Of or relating to the properties or actions of chemicals.

  1. A substance with a distinct molecular composition that is produced by or used in a chemical process.

  2. A drug, especially an illicit or addictive one.

chem'i·cal·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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chemicals in Science
Adjective  Relating to or produced by means of chemistry.

Noun  A substance having a specific molecular composition, obtained by or used in a chemical process.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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