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osmosis

[oz-moh-sis, os-]
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noun
  1. Physical Chemistry, Cell Biology.
    1. the tendency of a fluid, usually water, to pass through a semipermeable membrane into a solution where the solvent concentration is higher, thus equalizing the concentrations of materials on either side of the membrane.
    2. the diffusion of fluids through membranes or porous partitions.Compare endosmosis, exosmosis.
  2. a subtle or gradual absorption or mingling: He never studies but seems to learn by osmosis.

Origin of osmosis

1865–70; Latinized form of now obsolete osmose osmosis, extracted from endosmose endosmosis, exosmose exosmosis < French, equivalent to end- end-, ex- ex-2 + Greek ōsm(ós) push, thrust + French -ose -osis
Related formsos·mot·ic [oz-mot-ik, os-] /ɒzˈmɒt ɪk, ɒs-/, adjectiveos·mot·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·os·mot·ic, adjectivenon·os·mot·i·cal·ly, adverbun·os·mot·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for osmosis

Historical Examples

  • In other words, it receives its nourishment from the mother by absorption or osmosis.

    Woman</p>

    William J. Robinson

  • I do believe in the osmosis of evil, in the diffusion of villainy, in the corruption of the soul.

    After the Rain

    Sam Vaknin

  • Without the process of osmosis we should be unable to use much of the food we eat.

    A Civic Biology

    George William Hunter

  • It then passes into the cells by osmosis, and there becomes part of the cell sap.

    A Civic Biology

    George William Hunter

  • Nourishment passes through them by a simple process of osmosis.

    Embryology

    Gerald R. Leighton


British Dictionary definitions for osmosis

osmosis

noun
  1. the passage of a solvent through a semipermeable membrane from a less concentrated to a more concentrated solution until both solutions are of the same concentration
  2. diffusion through any membrane or porous barrier, as in dialysis
  3. gradual or unconscious assimilation or adoption, as of ideas
Derived Formsosmotic (ɒzˈmɒtɪk, ɒs-), adjectiveosmotically, adverb

Word Origin

C19: Latinized form from osmose (n), from Greek ōsmos push, thrust
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

Word Origin and History for osmosis

n.

1867, Latinized from osmose (1854), shortened from endosmosis (1830s), from endosmose "inward passage of a fluid through a porous septum" (1829), from French endo- "inward" + Greek osmos "a thrusting, a pushing," from stem of othein "to push, to thrust," from PIE *wedhe- "to push, strike" (cf. Sanskrit vadhati "pushes, strikes, destroys," Avestan vadaya- "to repulse"). Figurative sense is from 1900. Related: Osmotic (1854, from earlier endosmotic).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

osmosis in Medicine

osmosis

([object Object])
n. pl. os•mo•ses (-sēz)
  1. Diffusion of fluid through a semipermeable membrane until there is an equal concentration of fluid on both sides of the membrane.
  2. The tendency of fluids to diffuse in such a manner.
Related formsos•motic (-mŏtĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

osmosis in Science

osmosis

[ŏz-mōsĭs]
  1. The movement of a solvent through a membrane separating two solutions of different concentrations. The solvent from the side of weaker concentration usually moves to the side of the stronger concentration, diluting it, until the concentrations of the solutions are equal on both sides of the membrane.♦ The pressure exerted by the molecules of the solvent on the membrane they pass through is called osmotic pressure. Osmotic pressure is the energy driving osmosis and is important for living organisms because it allows water and nutrients dissolved in water to pass through cell membranes.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

osmosis in Culture

osmosis

[(ahz-moh-sis, ahs-moh-sis)]

The seeping of a fluid through a seemingly solid barrier, such as a cell wall or a rubber sheet. When the concentration of the fluid is the same on both sides of the barrier, osmosis stops.

Note

Informally, “osmosis” is the process by which information or concepts come to a person without conscious effort: “Living in Paris, he learned French slang by osmosis.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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