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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for physical change
Historical Examples
  • On matter and ether, and the secret laws of physical change.

  • There were other changes in Anne no less real than the physical change.

    Anne Of Green Gables Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • It must be this physical change which was creeping over him.

    When It Was Dark Guy Thorne
  • Age could soften, but it could not destroy, the charm that was independent of physical change.

    The Builders Ellen Glasgow
  • A physical change in our bodies takes place with every thought.

    What and Where is God?

    Richard La Rue Swain
  • The transformation of energy renders it necessary to the existence of all life, and to all physical change in the universe.

    Aether and Gravitation

    William George Hooper
  • This physical change undoubtedly extends further than to the features only.

    Plain Facts for Old and Young John Harvey Kellogg
  • This physical change is dependent not only on the temperature, but also on the time of exposure.

  • It was proof of Billy's spiritual and physical change that Peggy did not cuff him and demand an explanation.

    Joyce of the North Woods Harriet T. Comstock
  • Dowie had not been one of those who had seen the gradual development of the physical change in her.

    Robin Frances Hodgson Burnett
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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