9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[sin-thet-ik] /sɪnˈθɛt ɪk/
of, pertaining to, proceeding by, or involving synthesis (opposed to analytic).
noting or pertaining to compounds formed through a chemical process by human agency, as opposed to those of natural origin:
synthetic vitamins; synthetic fiber.
(of a language) characterized by a relatively widespread use of affixes, rather than separate words, to express syntactic relationships:
Latin is a synthetic language, while English is analytic.
Compare analytic (def 3), polysynthetic (def 1).
Also, synthetical. Logic. of or relating to a noncontradictory proposition in which the predicate is not included in, or entailed by, the subject.
not real or genuine; artificial; feigned:
a synthetic chuckle at a poor joke.
  1. noting a gem mineral manufactured so as to be physically, chemically, and optically identical with the mineral as found in nature.
  2. (not in technical use) noting a gem mineral manufactured and pigmented in imitation of a natural gemstone of that name.
something made by a synthetic, or chemical, process.
  1. substances or products made by chemical synthesis, as plastics or artificial fibers.
  2. the science or industry concerned with such products.
Origin of synthetic
1690-1700; < New Latin syntheticus < Greek synthetikós, equivalent to synthet(ós) placed together, verbid of syntithénai to put together (syn- syn- + the-, stem of tithénai to put, place + -tos verbid suffix) + -ikos -ic
Related forms
synthetically, adverb
nonsynthetic, adjective
nonsynthetical, adjective
nonsynthetically, adverb
unsynthetic, adjective
unsynthetically, adverb
5. fake, phony, counterfeit, sham. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for synthetic
  • synthetic shingles made from recycled materials, such as plastic and old tires are another eco-friendly option.
  • At a time when so much around us is synthetic and artificial, here is the real thing.
  • synthetic diesel made from natural gas would be a step in the right direction.
  • Though perfume makers have found synthetic alternatives to musk, the hunting hasn't stopped.
  • At the focal point of each mirror will run a transparent tube filled with a synthetic oil.
  • The sluice is lined with heavy synthetic matting, similar to indoor-outdoor carpet.
  • They can forgo synthetic fabrics by making or purchasing garments of organic cotton and wool.
  • It sounded kind of synthetic, and far from warm or earthy.
  • Behind the perfumer's palette is the history of synthetic organic chemistry.
  • The contaminants include natural hormones excreted by humans and livestock as well as hormone-mimicking synthetic chemicals.
British Dictionary definitions for synthetic


(of a substance or material) made artificially by chemical reaction
not genuine; insincere: synthetic compassion
denoting languages, such as Latin, whose morphology is characterized by synthesis Compare polysynthetic, agglutinative (sense 2), analytic (sense 3)
  1. (of a proposition) having a truth-value that is not determined solely by virtue of the meanings of the words, as in all men are arrogant
  2. contingent Compare a posteriori, empirical
a synthetic substance or material
Derived Forms
synthetically, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from New Latin syntheticus, from Greek sunthetikos expert in putting together, from suntithenai to put together; see synthesis
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 synthetic

1690s, as a term in logic, from French synthétique (17c.), from Modern Latin syntheticus, from Greek synthetikos, from synthetos, past participle of syntithenai (see synthesis). From 1874 in reference to products or materials made artificially by chemical synthesis; hence "artificial" (1930).

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

synthetic syn·thet·ic (sĭn-thět'ĭk)

  1. Relating to or involving synthesis.

  2. Produced by chemical synthesis, especially not of natural origin.

A synthetic chemical compound or material.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
synthetic in Science
Produced artificially, especially in a laboratory or other man-made environment. Nylon is a synthetic chemical compound.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for synthetic

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for synthetic

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with synthetic

Nearby words for synthetic