free radicals

free radical

noun Chemistry, Biochemistry.
an atom or molecule that bears an unpaired electron and is extremely reactive, capable of engaging in rapid chain reactions that destabilize other molecules and generate many more free radicals: in the body, deactivated by antioxidants, uric acid, and certain enzyme activities.
Compare diradical.


Origin:
1895–1900

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World English Dictionary
free radical
 
n
Compare group Sometimes shortened to: radical an atom or group of atoms containing at least one unpaired electron and existing for a brief period of time before reacting to produce a stable molecule

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

free radical n.

  1. An uncharged atom or group of atoms having at least one unpaired electron, which makes it highly reactive.

  2. An organic compound having some unpaired valence electrons; a normal byproduct of oxidation reactions in metabolism.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
free radical  
An atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron and is therefore unstable and highly reactive. In animal tissues, free radicals can damage cells and are believed to accelerate the progression of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and age-related diseases.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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