[ ad-sawrb, -zawrb ]
/ ædˈsɔrb, -ˈzɔrb /

verb (used with object) Physical Chemistry.

to gather (a gas, liquid, or dissolved substance) on a surface in a condensed layer: Charcoal will adsorb gases.

Nearby words

  1. adscititious,
  2. adscript,
  3. adscription,
  4. adsl,
  5. adson's test,
  6. adsorbate,
  7. adsorbent,
  8. adsorption,
  9. adsorption theory of narcosis,
  10. adst. feb.

Origin of adsorb

First recorded in 1880–85; ad- + (ab)sorb

Related forms
Can be confusedabsorb adsorb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for adsorb


/ (ədˈsɔːb, -ˈzɔːb) /


to undergo or cause to undergo a process in which a substance, usually a gas, accumulates on the surface of a solid forming a thin film, often only one molecule thickto adsorb hydrogen on nickel; oxygen adsorbs on tungsten Compare absorb (def. 8)
Derived Formsadsorbable, adjectiveadsorbability, nounadsorption, noun

Word Origin for adsorb

C19: ad- + -sorb as in absorb

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 adsorb



1882, transitive (intransitive use attested from 1919), back-formation from adsorption (1882), coined in German from ad- + -sorption, abstracted from absorption. See absorb. Related: Adsorbent; adsorption.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for adsorb


[ ăd-zôrb ]


To take up by adsorption.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.