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physical change

noun, Chemistry.
a usually reversible change in the physical properties of a substance, as size or shape:
Freezing a liquid is a physical change.
Compare chemical change. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for physical change
Historical Examples
  • Here every physical change of condition is regarded as energy, the destruction of which generates work or equivalent heat.

  • On matter and ether, and the secret laws of physical change.

  • In the clear daylight the physical change in the man was painful enough to witness.

    The Traitors E. Phillips (Edward Phillips) Oppenheim
  • There were other changes in Anne no less real than the physical change.

    Anne Of Green Gables Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Is a physical change always accompanied by a chemical change?

  • It must be this physical change which was creeping over him.

    When It Was Dark Guy Thorne
  • Variation itself is quite peculiar, and as far removed from any physical change as is possible to conceive.

  • Age could soften, but it could not destroy, the charm that was independent of physical change.

    The Builders Ellen Glasgow
  • Man is essentially one; and when the physical change called death passes over him, it does not utterly obliterate the whole being.

    Creation and Its Records B.H. Baden-Powell
  • A physical change in our bodies takes place with every thought.

    What and Where is God? Richard La Rue Swain
Contemporary definitions for physical change

any process involving a substance's change from one state (gas, liquid, solid) to another without alteration of the chemical composition; cf. chemical change


Freezing water is a physical change because both water and ice are H2O.

See chemical change's 21st Century Lexicon
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