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[ih-lek-truh-lahyt] /ɪˈlɛk trəˌlaɪt/
Physical Chemistry.
  1. Also called electrolytic conductor. a conducting medium in which the flow of current is accompanied by the movement of matter in the form of ions.
  2. any substance that dissociates into ions when dissolved in a suitable medium or melted and thus forms a conductor of electricity.
Physiology. any of certain inorganic compounds, mainly sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride, and bicarbonate, that dissociate in biological fluids into ions capable of conducting electrical currents and constituting a major force in controlling fluid balance within the body.
Origin of electrolyte
1825-35; electro- + -lyte1
Related forms
nonelectrolyte, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for electrolyte
  • Bring salty snacks or sports drinks to maintain your body's electrolyte balance, particularly when hiking.
  • The electrolyte is stored in an external tank and pumped through the battery's cells to convert chemical energy into electricity.
  • Lithium-ion batteries have two electrodes immersed in an electrically conductive solution, called an electrolyte.
  • Improved safety, no corrosive electrolyte and low toxicity of materials.
  • The causes of seizures range from epilepsy to brain injury to electrolyte imbalance.
  • We honestly thought it was a tie-in commercial for some electrolyte-rich energy beverage.
  • But the thickness of the electrolyte limits power generation.
  • The dye-coated fibers are then surrounded by an electrolyte and a metal film that carries electrons off the device.
  • Electrochemically grow the anodized membrane, switch electrolyte and poles to grow silver, etch a tad to remove surface connects.
  • The electrolyte lasts a long time, and when it gets spoiled it can be mostly recycled.
British Dictionary definitions for electrolyte


a solution or molten substance that conducts electricity
  1. a chemical compound that dissociates in solution into ions
  2. any of the ions themselves
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 electrolyte

"substance decomposed by electrolysis," 1834, from electro- + Greek lytos "loosed," from lyein "to loose" (see lose).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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electrolyte in Medicine

electrolyte e·lec·tro·lyte (ĭ-lěk'trə-līt')

  1. A chemical compound that ionizes when dissolved or molten to produce an electrically conductive medium.

  2. Any of various ions, such as sodium or chloride, required by cells to regulate the electric charge and flow of water molecules across the cell membrane.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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electrolyte in Science
  1. A melted or dissolved compound that has broken apart into ions (anions and cations). Applying an electric field across an electrolyte causes the anions and cations to move in opposite directions, thereby conducting electrical current while gradually separating the ions. See also electrodialysis, electrolysis.

  2. Any of these ions found in body fluids. Electrolytes are needed by cells to regulate the flow of water molecules across cell membranes.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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electrolyte in Culture
electrolyte [(i-lek-truh-leyet)]

A substance that can serve as a conductor for an electric current when it is dissolved in a solution. Electrolytes are found in the blood and tissue fluids of the body.

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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