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[uhn-sach-uh-rey-tid] /ʌnˈsætʃ əˌreɪ tɪd/
not saturated; having the power to dissolve still more of a substance.
Chemistry. (of an organic compound) having a double or triple bond and capable of taking on elements or groups by direct chemical combination without the liberation of other elements or compounds, as ethylene, CH 2 =CH 2 ; undersaturated.
Origin of unsaturated
1750-60; un-1 + saturated
Related forms
[uhn-sach-er-it, -uh-reyt] /ʌnˈsætʃ ər ɪt, -əˌreɪt/ (Show IPA),
unsaturation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for unsaturated
  • However, they usually fall through unsaturated air as they descend.
  • unsaturated fats appear to have beneficial effects on health and are even used in the treatment of heart disease and diabetes.
  • The major sources of unsaturated fatty acids in the diet are vegetable oils in the natural state.
  • And earlier studies in rats indicated that unsaturated fatty acids in fish may affect leptin levels.
  • These carbons tend to then pair off with one another, forming what are known as unsaturated hydrocarbons.
  • However, unsaturated fats have a lot of calories, so you still need to limit them.
  • Consumers watching their fat intake generally avoid saturated fats and instead choose unsaturated fats.
  • They avoid all animal fats and hydrogenated vegetable oils, and go for those vegetable oils which are mainly mono-unsaturated.
  • The unsaturated zone is the portion of the subsurface above the ground water table.
British Dictionary definitions for unsaturated


not saturated
(of a chemical compound, esp an organic compound) containing one or more double or triple bonds and thus capable of undergoing addition reactions
(of a fat, esp a vegetable fat) containing a high proportion of fatty acids having double bonds
(of a solution) containing less solute than a saturated solution
Derived Forms
unsaturation, noun
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 unsaturated

1756, from un- (1) "not" + past participle of saturate (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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unsaturated in Medicine

unsaturated un·sat·u·rat·ed (ŭn-sāch'ə-rā'tĭd)

  1. Of or relating to a solution in which the solvent is capable of dissolving still more of the solute; not saturated.

  2. Of or relating to a chemical compound in which all the affinities are not satisfied, so that still other atoms or radicals may be added to it.

  3. Of or relating to chemical compounds containing double and triple bonds.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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unsaturated in Science

  1. Relating to an organic compound in which two or more of the carbon atoms are joined by a double or triple bond and therefore can be combined with additional atoms or radicals. Benzene and acetylene are examples of unsaturated compounds. Compare saturated.See also monounsaturated, polyunsaturated.

  2. Relating to a solution that is capable of dissolving more solute than it already contains.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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