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[sin-thuh-sis] /ˈsɪn θə sɪs/
noun, plural syntheses
[sin-thuh-seez] /ˈsɪn θəˌsiz/ (Show IPA)
the combining of the constituent elements of separate material or abstract entities into a single or unified entity (opposed to analysis, ) the separating of any material or abstract entity into its constituent elements.
a complex whole formed by combining.
Chemistry. the forming or building of a more complex substance or compound from elements or simpler compounds.
Philosophy. the third stage of argument in Hegelian dialectic, which reconciles the mutually contradictory first two propositions, thesis and antithesis.
Biology. modern synthesis, a consolidation of the results of various lines of investigation from the 1920s through the 1950s that supported and reconciled the Darwinian theory of evolution and the Mendelian laws of inheritance in terms of natural selection acting on genetic variation.
Psychology, Psychiatry. the integration of traits, attitudes, and impulses to create a total personality.
Origin of synthesis
1580-90; < Latin < Greek sýnthesis, equivalent to syn- syn- + the- (stem of tithénai to put, place) + -sis -sis
Related forms
synthesist, noun
nonsynthesis, noun, plural nonsyntheses.
resynthesis, noun, plural resyntheses.
Can be confused
antithesis, synthesis, thesis.

Hegelian dialectic

an interpretive method, originally used to relate specific entities or events to the absolute idea, in which some assertible proposition (thesis) is necessarily opposed by an equally assertible and apparently contradictory proposition (antithesis) the mutual contradiction being reconciled on a higher level of truth by a third proposition (synthesis) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for synthesis
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Master of a complex art, his nature complex, the synthesis was irresistible.

    Melomaniacs James Huneker
  • It would kill those synthesis girls if they knew how he had been talking to you.

    The Coast of Bohemia William Dean Howells
  • She came to say she could not take the time from the synthesis to pay me that little visit.

    The Coast of Bohemia William Dean Howells
  • That's why the synthesis is so good for me; it concentrates me, if it is on a block hand.

    The Coast of Bohemia William Dean Howells
  • They spoke of the synthesis, and asked her how she liked it, but they did not wait for her to say.

    The Coast of Bohemia William Dean Howells
British Dictionary definitions for synthesis


noun (pl) -ses (-ˌsiːz)
the process of combining objects or ideas into a complex whole Compare analysis
the combination or whole produced by such a process
the process of producing a compound by a chemical reaction or series of reactions, usually from simpler or commonly available starting materials
(linguistics) the use of inflections rather than word order and function words to express the syntactic relations in a language Compare analysis (sense 5)
(philosophy, archaic) synthetic reasoning
  1. (in the writings of Kant) the unification of one concept with another not contained in it Compare analysis (sense 7)
  2. the final stage in the Hegelian dialectic, that resolves the contradiction between thesis and antithesis
Derived Forms
synthesist, noun
Word Origin
C17: via Latin from Greek sunthesis, from suntithenai to put together, from syn- + tithenai to place

Hegelian dialectic

/hɪˈɡeɪlɪan, heɪˈɡiː-/
(philosophy) an interpretive method in which the contradiction between a proposition (thesis) and its antithesis is resolved at a higher level of truth (synthesis)
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 synthesis

1610s, from Latin synthesis "collection, set, composition (of a medication)," from Greek synthesis "composition," from syntithenai "put together, combine," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + tithenai "put, place," from PIE root *dhe- "to put, to do" (see factitious).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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synthesis in Medicine

synthesis syn·the·sis (sĭn'thĭ-sĭs)
n. pl. syn·the·ses (-sēz')

  1. The combining of separate elements or substances to form a coherent whole.

  2. Formation of a chemical compound from simpler compounds or elements.

  3. A period in the cell cycle.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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synthesis in Science
Plural syntheses (sĭn'thĭ-sēz')
The formation of a chemical compound through the combination of simpler compounds or elements.

synthesize verb
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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