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[ih-muhl-shuh n] /ɪˈmʌl ʃən/
Physical Chemistry. any colloidal suspension of a liquid in another liquid.
such a suspension used in cosmetics.
Pharmacology. a liquid preparation consisting of two completely immiscible liquids, one of which, as minute globules coated by a gum or other mucilaginous substance, is dispersed throughout the other: used as a means of making a medicine palatable.
Photography. a composition sensitive to some or all of the actinic rays of light, consisting of one or more of the silver halides suspended in gelatin, applied in a thin layer to one surface of a film or the like.
Origin of emulsion
1605-15; < New Latin ēmulsiōn- (stem of ēmulsiō), equivalent to Latin ēmuls(us) milked out (ē- e-1 + mulsus, past participle of mulgēre to milk) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
emulsive, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for emulsion
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If you use denatured alcohol, you are likely to have an emulsion as a result of the mixing.

    Common Science Carleton W. Washburne
  • Pour the emulsion into the filter reservoir and start the filtration.

  • This emulsion is also excellent for the cabbage louse and many other insects.

    The Cauliflower A. A. Crozier
  • The commencement of the saponification is denoted by the formation of an emulsion.

  • The emulsion had been designed originally for infrared flash bulbs.

    Smugglers' Reef John Blaine
  • Unhappily, all of the Scott's emulsion advertising is not up to this standard.

    The Great American Fraud Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • Protoplasm is rich in lipoids; probably it is mainly an emulsion of these and proteins.

British Dictionary definitions for emulsion


(photog) a light-sensitive coating on a base, such as paper or film, consisting of fine grains of silver bromide suspended in gelatine
(chem) a colloid in which both phases are liquids: an oil-in-water emulsion
Also called emulsion paint. a type of paint in which the pigment is suspended in a vehicle, usually a synthetic resin, that is dispersed in water as an emulsion. It usually gives a mat finish
(pharmacol) a mixture in which an oily medicine is dispersed in another liquid
any liquid resembling milk
Derived Forms
emulsive, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from New Latin ēmulsiō, from Latin ēmulsus milked out, from ēmulgēre to milk out, drain out, from mulgēre to milk
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 emulsion

1610s, from French émulsion (16c.), from Modern Latin emulsionem (nominative emulsio), from emulsus, past participle of emulgere "to milk out," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + mulgere "to milk" (see milk (n.)). Milk is a classic instance of an emulsion, drops of one liquid dispersed throughout another.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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emulsion in Medicine

emulsion e·mul·sion (ĭ-mŭl'shən)
A suspension of small globules of one liquid in a second liquid with which the first will not mix.

e·mul'sive 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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emulsion in Science
A suspension of tiny droplets of one liquid in a second liquid. By making an emulsion, one can mix two liquids that ordinarily do not mix well, such as oil and water. Compare aerosol, foam.

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