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[jel] /dʒɛl/
Physical Chemistry. a semirigid colloidal dispersion of a solid with a liquid or gas, as jelly, glue, etc.
Theater. gelatin (def 5).
Biochemistry. a semirigid polymer, as agarose, starch, cellulose acetate, or polyacrylamide, cast into slabs or cylinders for the electrophoretic separation of proteins and nucleic acids.
verb (used without object), gelled, gelling.
to form or become a gel.
jell (def 2).
Origin of gel
First recorded in 1895-1900; shortening of gelatin
Related forms
degel, verb (used with object), degelled, degelling.
nongelling, adjective
regel, verb (used without object), regelled, regelling. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for gelling


a semirigid jelly-like colloid in which a liquid is dispersed in a solid: nondrip paint is a gel
See hair gel
(theatre, informal) See gelatine (sense 4)
verb gels, gelling, gelled
to become or cause to become a gel
a variant spelling of jell
Word Origin
C19: by shortening from gelatine
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 gelling



1899, as a chemical term, short for gelatin and perhaps influenced by jell. The invention of this word is credited to Scottish chemist Thomas Graham (1805-1869). Hair-styling sense is from 1958. The verb meaning "to become a gel" is attested by 1902; figurative sense is from 1958. Related: Gelled; gelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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gelling in Medicine

gel (jěl)
A colloid in which the disperse phase combines with the dispersion medium to produce a semisolid material. v. gelled, gel·ling, gels

  1. To become a gel.

  2. To convert a sol into a gel.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for gelling



  1. To come to a firm and useful form; work: In this highly partisan county, it just didn't gel/ If this doesn't gel, the local people will be stuck/ Frost's saga fails to jell either as compelling drama or convincing social portraiture (1950s+)
  2. (also jell out) To relax; chill out, kick back: After having five hours of class today I think I'll just go home and gel (1980s+ Students)

[second sense perhaps fr the notion of productively sitting still as a gelatin pudding does]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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