[ 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.

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

Examples from the Web for adsorbent

British Dictionary definitions for adsorbent (1 of 2)


/ (ədˈsɔːbənt, -ˈzɔː-) /


capable of adsorption


a material, such as activated charcoal, on which adsorption can occur

British Dictionary definitions for adsorbent (2 of 2)


/ (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 adsorbent



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 adsorbent (1 of 2)


[ ăd-zôrbənt ]


Capable of adsorption.


An adsorptive substance.
A pharmacological substance capable of attaching other substances to its surface without any chemical action.
An antigen or antibody used in immune adsorption.

Medicine definitions for adsorbent (2 of 2)


[ 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.