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[kem-i-kuh l] /ˈkɛm ɪ kəl/
a substance produced by or used in a chemical process.
chemicals, Slang. narcotic or mind-altering drugs or substances.
of, used in, produced by, or concerned with chemistry or chemicals:
a chemical formula; chemical agents.
used in chemical warfare:
chemical weapons.
Origin of chemical
1570-80; chemic + -al1; replacing chimical chemic
Related forms
chemically, adverb
nonchemical, adjective, noun
prechemical, adjective
pseudochemical, adjective
semichemical, adjective
semichemically, adverb
superchemical, adjective, noun
superchemically, adverb
unchemical, adjective
unchemically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for chemical
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The air was saturated by it just as water may hold a chemical in solution.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • He took a house near the chemical laboratory, to which he brought his wife and family.

  • But happily for me they accepted my statement as to their chemical nature in other respects.

    City of Endless Night Milo Hastings
  • There is also a change in chemical conditions, the water at least being decomposed.

    Life: Its True Genesis R. W. Wright
  • In the latter the union is mechanical; in the former it is chemical.

British Dictionary definitions for chemical


any substance used in or resulting from a reaction involving changes to atoms or molecules, especially one derived artificially for practical use
of or used in chemistry: chemical balance
of, made from, or using chemicals: chemical fertilizer
Derived Forms
chemically, adverb
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 chemical

1570s, "relating to chemistry," from chemic "of alchemy" (a worn-down derivative of Medieval Latin alchimicus; see alchemy) + -al (1). In early use also of alchemy. Related: Chemically.


1747, from chemical (adj.). Related: Chemicals.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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chemical in Medicine

chemical chem·i·cal (kěm'ĭ-kəl)
Abbr. chem.

  1. Of or relating to chemistry.

  2. Of or relating to the properties or actions of chemicals.

  1. A substance with a distinct molecular composition that is produced by or used in a chemical process.

  2. A drug, especially an illicit or addictive one.

chem'i·cal·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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chemical in Science
Adjective  Relating to or produced by means of chemistry.

Noun  A substance having a specific molecular composition, obtained by or used in a chemical process.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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