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[ad-sawrb, -zawrb] /ædˈsɔrb, -ˈzɔrb/
verb (used with object), Physical Chemistry.
to gather (a gas, liquid, or dissolved substance) on a surface in a condensed layer:
Charcoal will adsorb gases.
Origin of adsorb
First recorded in 1880-85; ad- + (ab)sorb
Related forms
adsorbable, adjective
adsorbability, noun
adsorbent, adjective, noun
[ad-sawrp-shuh n, -zawrp-] /ædˈsɔrp ʃən, -ˈzɔrp-/ (Show IPA),
adsorptive, adjective
adsorptively, adverb
Can be confused
absorb, adsorb. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for adsorptive


/ədˈsɔːb; -ˈzɔːb/
to undergo or cause to undergo a process in which a substance, usually a gas, accumulates on the surface of a solid forming a thin film, often only one molecule thick: to adsorb hydrogen on nickel, oxygen adsorbs on tungsten Compare absorb (sense 8)
Derived Forms
adsorbable, adjective
adsorbability, noun
adsorption, noun
Word Origin
C19: ad- + -sorb as in absorb
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 adsorptive



1882, transitive (intransitive use attested from 1919), back-formation from adsorption (1882), coined in German from ad- + -sorption, abstracted from absorption. See absorb. Related: Adsorbent; adsorption.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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adsorptive in Medicine

adsorb ad·sorb (ād-sôrb', -zôrb')
v. ad·sorbed, ad·sorb·ing, ad·sorbs
To take up by adsorption.

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