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  1. floating above or on the surface.

Origin of supernatant

1655–65; < Latin supernatant- (stem of supernatāns), present participle of supernatāre to swim or float above. See super-, natant
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for supernatant

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for supernatant


  1. floating on the surface or over something
  2. chem (of a liquid) lying above a sediment or settled precipitate
Derived Formssupernatation, noun

Word Origin

C17: from Latin supernatāre to float, from super- + natāre to swim
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 supernatant


1660s, from Latin supernatantem (nominative supernatans), present participle of supernatare "to swim above," from super (see super-) + natare "to swim," frequentative of nare "to swim" (see natatorium).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper