- Chemistry. a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected.
- something that causes activity between two or more persons or forces without itself being affected.
- a person or thing that precipitates an event or change: His imprisonment by the government served as the catalyst that helped transform social unrest into revolution.
- a person whose talk, enthusiasm, or energy causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic, or energetic.
Origin of catalyst
Examples from the Web for catalyst
But the copper performs another important function: working as a catalyst in the distillation process.When It Comes to Great Whisky, The Size of Your Still Matters
December 9, 2014
Brunch is a catalyst, brunch is the enforcer of different-rules-for-the-weekend.Don’t Diss the Beauty of Brunch: Defending Our Favorite Meal
October 15, 2014
We are proud that our film could be a catalyst for even a small change in the ways these boys are treated in China.China Doesn't Want You to See the Internet Addiction Film 'Web Junkie'
Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia
August 9, 2014
And that question is the catalyst for all the ambiguity throughout the film.How ‘Transcendence’ Director Wally Pfister Became Christopher Nolan’s Secret Weapon
April 17, 2014
The senator's 13-hour filibuster of the confirmation of John Brennan to be CIA director last March was the catalyst.Rand Paul’s Audacity of Nope: Suing Obama Over Domestic Surveillance
January 6, 2014
You'll be pleasantly surprised at how this approach will act as a catalyst.A Practical Guide to Self-Hypnosis
I come back soon and gif you the catalyst for that last reaction.Beyond the Vanishing Point
Raymond King Cummings
You do not know where we secure the catalyst your people seek.The Colors of Space
Marion Zimmer Bradley
A catalyst failed briefly in its task, then resumed, but the damage had been done.The Short Life
This simple act may have been the catalyst which gave Burl the solution to the problem.The Forgotten Planet
- a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself suffering any permanent chemical changeCompare inhibitor (def. 2)
- a person or thing that causes a change
Word Origin and History for catalyst
"substance which speeds a chemical reaction but itself remains unchanged," 1902, formed in English (on analogy of analyst) from catalysis. Figurative use by 1943.
- A substance, usually used in small amounts relative to the reactants, that modifies and increases the rate of a reaction without being consumed in the process.
- A substance that starts or speeds up a chemical reaction while undergoing no permanent change itself. The enzymes in saliva, for example, are catalysts in digestion.