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90s Slang You Should Know


[sin-thet-ik] /sɪnˈθɛt ɪk/
of, pertaining to, proceeding by, or involving synthesis (opposed to analytic).
noting or pertaining to compounds formed through a chemical process by human agency, as opposed to those of natural origin:
synthetic vitamins; synthetic fiber.
(of a language) characterized by a relatively widespread use of affixes, rather than separate words, to express syntactic relationships:
Latin is a synthetic language, while English is analytic.
Compare analytic (def 3), polysynthetic (def 1).
Also, synthetical. Logic. of or relating to a noncontradictory proposition in which the predicate is not included in, or entailed by, the subject.
not real or genuine; artificial; feigned:
a synthetic chuckle at a poor joke.
  1. noting a gem mineral manufactured so as to be physically, chemically, and optically identical with the mineral as found in nature.
  2. (not in technical use) noting a gem mineral manufactured and pigmented in imitation of a natural gemstone of that name.
something made by a synthetic, or chemical, process.
  1. substances or products made by chemical synthesis, as plastics or artificial fibers.
  2. the science or industry concerned with such products.
Origin of synthetic
1690-1700; < New Latin syntheticus < Greek synthetikós, equivalent to synthet(ós) placed together, verbid of syntithénai to put together (syn- syn- + the-, stem of tithénai to put, place + -tos verbid suffix) + -ikos -ic
Related forms
synthetically, adverb
nonsynthetic, adjective
nonsynthetical, adjective
nonsynthetically, adverb
unsynthetic, adjective
unsynthetically, adverb
5. fake, phony, counterfeit, sham. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for synthetic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Humes problem, thus viewed, finds its final and complete expression in the formula: How are synthetic a priori judgments possible?

  • He pulled his tray toward him and attacked the synthetic meat and vegetables.

    Starman's Quest Robert Silverberg
  • One of the latest and most striking of these achievements of synthetic chemistry is the manufacture of indigo.

    Creative Chemistry Edwin E. Slosson
  • And this synthetic activity of the complex vision I call its apex-thought.

    The Complex Vision John Cowper Powys
  • This is another instance of the synthetic or assimilative phase of scientific thinking.

    How We Think John Dewey
British Dictionary definitions for synthetic


(of a substance or material) made artificially by chemical reaction
not genuine; insincere: synthetic compassion
denoting languages, such as Latin, whose morphology is characterized by synthesis Compare polysynthetic, agglutinative (sense 2), analytic (sense 3)
  1. (of a proposition) having a truth-value that is not determined solely by virtue of the meanings of the words, as in all men are arrogant
  2. contingent Compare a posteriori, empirical
a synthetic substance or material
Derived Forms
synthetically, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from New Latin syntheticus, from Greek sunthetikos expert in putting together, from suntithenai to put together; see 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 synthetic

1690s, as a term in logic, from French synthétique (17c.), from Modern Latin syntheticus, from Greek synthetikos, from synthetos, past participle of syntithenai (see synthesis). From 1874 in reference to products or materials made artificially by chemical synthesis; hence "artificial" (1930).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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synthetic in Medicine

synthetic syn·thet·ic (sĭn-thět'ĭk)

  1. Relating to or involving synthesis.

  2. Produced by chemical synthesis, especially not of natural origin.

A synthetic chemical compound or material.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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synthetic in Science
Produced artificially, especially in a laboratory or other man-made environment. Nylon is a synthetic chemical compound.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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