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[dahy-al-uh-sis] /daɪˈæl ə sɪs/
noun, plural dialyses
[dahy-al-uh-seez] /daɪˈæl əˌsiz/ (Show IPA)
Physical Chemistry. the separation of crystalloids from colloids in a solution by diffusion through a membrane.
Biochemistry. the separation of large molecules, as proteins, from small molecules and ions in a solution by allowing the latter to pass through a semipermeable membrane.
Medicine/Medical. (in kidney disease) the process by which uric acid and urea are removed from circulating blood by means of a dialyzer.
Origin of dialysis
1580-90; < Late Latin < Greek diálysis a separation. See dia-, -lysis Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dialysis
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • dialysis has also been recently applied in the separation of alkaloids.

    Legal Chemistry A. Naquet
  • This body is soluble in water, and consequently is not precipitated by dialysis.

    On Digestive Proteolysis R. H. Chittenden
  • The disjunction or dialysis of the carpels, for instance, frequently renders axile placentation marginal.

    Vegetable Teratology

    Maxwell T. Masters
  • Hence we can easily separate by dialysis two bodies of different groups which are mixed in a solution.

    The Wonders of Life Ernst Haeckel
  • dialysis, the process by means of which a crystalline substance may be separated from a colloidal body.

British Dictionary definitions for dialysis


noun (pl) -ses (-ˌsiːz)
the separation of small molecules from large molecules and colloids in a solution by the selective diffusion of the small molecules through a semipermeable membrane
Derived Forms
dialytic (ˌdaɪəˈlɪtɪk) adjective
dialytically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin: a separation, from Greek dialusis a dissolution, from dialuein to tear apart, dissolve, from luein to loosen
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 dialysis

1580s, from Latin, from Greek dialysis "dissolution, separation" (of the disbanding of troops, a divorce, etc.), from dialyein "dissolve, separate," from dia- "apart" + lyein "loosen" (see lose). Used originally in logic and grammar; chemistry sense is first recorded 1861, medicine 1914. Related: Dialytic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dialysis in Medicine

dialysis di·al·y·sis (dī-āl'ĭ-sĭs)
n. pl. di·al·y·ses (-sēz')

  1. The separation of smaller molecules from larger molecules or of dissolved substances from colloidal particles in a solution by selective diffusion through a semipermeable membrane. Also called diffusion.

  2. Hemodialysis.

di'a·lyt'ic (-ə-lĭt'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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dialysis in Science
  1. The separation of the smaller molecules in a solution from the larger molecules by passing the solution through a membrane that does not allow the large molecules to pass through.

  2. A medical procedure in which this technique of molecular separation is used to remove metabolic waste products or toxic substances from the blood. Dialysis is required for individuals with severe kidney failure.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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dialysis in Culture
dialysis [(deye-al-uh-sis)]

The separation of large molecules from small molecules by passage through a membrane.

Note: A common treatment for kidney disease is the use of a dialysis machine to filter toxic substances from the blood, a function that the kidneys normally perform.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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