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[hahy-puh-ton-ik] /ˌhaɪ pəˈtɒn ɪk/
Physiology. (of tissue) having less than the normal tone.
Physical Chemistry. noting a solution of lower osmotic pressure than another solution with which it is compared (opposed to hypertonic).
Compare isotonic (def 1).
Origin of hypotonic
First recorded in 1890-95; hypo- + tonic
Related forms
[hahy-poh-toh-nis-i-tee] /ˌhaɪ poʊ toʊˈnɪs ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hypotonic
Historical Examples
  • In a hypotonic solution they swell up and burst, the hmoglobin dissolving in the liquid and colouring it red.

    The Mechanism of Life Stphane Leduc
  • Under the influence of such a hypotonic solution the dry cells rapidly swell up, burst, and are dissolved.

    The Mechanism of Life Stphane Leduc
  • It gains weight in a hypotonic solution, the water current setting towards the point of higher concentration.

    The Mechanism of Life Stphane Leduc
  • A bipolar field has a hypertonic pole or centre of concentration, and a hypotonic pole or centre of dilution.

    The Mechanism of Life Stphane Leduc
  • We have thus two poles of diffusion of contrary signs, a hypotonic pole at the water drop, and a hypertonic pole at the salt drop.

    The Mechanism of Life Stphane Leduc
British Dictionary definitions for hypotonic


(pathol) (of muscles) lacking normal tone or tension
(of a solution) having a lower osmotic pressure than that of a specified, generally physiological, solution Compare hypertonic, isotonic
Derived Forms
hypotonicity (ˌhaɪpətəˈnɪsɪtɪ) 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 hypotonic

1873, from hypo- + tonic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hypotonic in Medicine

hypotonic hy·po·ton·ic (hī'pō-tŏn'ĭk)

  1. Having less than normal tone or tension, as of muscles or arteries.

  2. Having a lower osmotic pressure than a reference solution.

hy'po·to·nic'i·ty (-tə-nĭs'ĭ-tē) 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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