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[ih-lek-trol-uh-sis, ee-lek-] /ɪ lɛkˈtrɒl ə sɪs, ˌi lɛk-/
Physical Chemistry. the passage of an electric current through an electrolyte with subsequent migration of positively and negatively charged ions to the negative and positive electrodes.
the destruction of hair roots, tumors, etc., by an electric current.
1830-40; electro- + -lysis Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for electrolysis
  • In addition, to prevent further corrosion, artifacts from the submarine will be placed in an electrolysis tank for several years.
  • electrolysis separates metal from ore by using acid and electricity.
  • If electricity could be produced cheaply for the electrolysis process, then we'd be on to something.
  • Another approach is electrolysis, which zaps hydrogen free from water using electricity.
  • One day hydrogen may be produced from the electrolysis of water.
  • Keep in mind that aluminum oxide requires a second process, electrolysis, to make the aluminum metal used in soda cans and foil.
  • The easiest way to produce it is through electrolysis which is fine, but not energy efficient.
  • The catalyst enables the electrolysis system to function efficiently at room temperature and at ordinary pressure.
  • It trades the transmission losses back to the coast for the electrolysis-based conversion loss.
  • It can also be generated by electrolysis, which is much more costly.
British Dictionary definitions for electrolysis


the conduction of electricity by a solution or melt, esp the use of this process to induce chemical changes
the destruction of living tissue, such as hair roots, by an electric current, usually for cosmetic reasons
Word Origin
C19: from electro- + -lysis
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 electrolysis

1834, introduced by Faraday on the suggestion of the Rev. William Whewell (1794-1866), English polymath, from electro- + Greek lysis "a loosening," from lyein "to loosen, set free" (see lose). Originally of tumors, later (1909) of hair removal.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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electrolysis in Medicine

electrolysis e·lec·trol·y·sis (ĭ-lěk-trŏl'ĭ-sĭs, ē'lěk-)

  1. Chemical change, especially decomposition, that is produced in an electrolyte by an electric current.

  2. Destruction of living tissue, especially that of the hair roots, by means of an electric current applied with a needle-shaped electrode.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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electrolysis in Science
A process in which a chemical change, especially decomposition, is brought about by passing an electric current through a solution of electrolytes so that the electrolyte's ions move toward the negative and positive electrodes and react with them. If negative ions move toward the anode, they lose electrons and become neutral, resulting in an oxidation reaction. This also happens if atoms of the anode lose electrons and go into the electrolyte solution as positive ions. If positive ions move toward the cathode and gain electrons, becoming neutral, a reduction reaction takes place. Electrolysis is used for many purposes, including the extraction of metals from ores, the cleaning of archaeological artifacts, and the coating of materials with thin layers of metal (electroplating).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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electrolysis in Culture
electrolysis [(i-lek-trol-uh-sis)]

In chemistry, any process that brings about a chemical reaction by passing electric current through a material.

Note: The most common form of electrolysis is electroplating, in which a thin coat of metal is deposited on a solid object.
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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