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[dee-ney-cher] /diˈneɪ tʃər/
verb (used with object), denatured, denaturing.
to deprive (something) of its natural character, properties, etc.
to render (any of various alcohols) unfit for drinking by adding an unwholesome substance that does not alter usefulness for other purposes.
Biochemistry. to treat (a protein or the like) by chemical or physical means so as to alter its original state.
to make (fissionable material) unsuitable for use in an atomic weapon by mixing it with unfissionable material.
Origin of denature
First recorded in 1675-85; de- + nature
Related forms
denaturant, noun
denaturation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for denaturation


verb (transitive)
to change the nature of
to change (a protein) by chemical or physical means, such as the action of acid or heat, to cause loss of solubility, biological activity, etc
to render (something, such as ethanol) unfit for consumption by adding nauseous substances
to render (fissile material) unfit for use in nuclear weapons by addition of an isotope
Derived Forms
denaturant, noun
denaturation, 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 denaturation

1882; see denature + -ation.



1878, in modern sense, from French dénaturer (Old French desnaturer "change the nature of; make unnatural"); see de- + nature. Earlier "to make unnatural" (1680s). Related: Denatured.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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denaturation in Medicine

denature de·na·ture (dē-nā'chər)
v. de·na·tured, de·na·tur·ing, de·na·tures

  1. To change the nature or natural qualities of.

  2. To render unfit to eat or drink without destroying usefulness in other applications, especially adding methyl alcohol to ethyl alcohol.

  3. To alter the chemical structure of a protein, as with heat, alkali, or acid, so that some of its original properties, especially its biological activity, are diminished or eliminated.

de·na'tur·a'tion n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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denaturation in Science
  1. To cause the tertiary structure of a protein to unfold, as with heat, alkali, or acid, so that some of its original properties, especially its biological activity, are diminished or eliminated.

  2. To cause the paired strands of DNA to separate into individual strands.

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