• synonyms


[ad-sawrb, -zawrb]
See more synonyms for adsorb on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object) Physical Chemistry.
  1. to gather (a gas, liquid, or dissolved substance) on a surface in a condensed layer: Charcoal will adsorb gases.
Show More

Origin of adsorb

First recorded in 1880–85; ad- + (ab)sorb
Related formsad·sorb·a·ble, adjectivead·sorb·a·bil·i·ty, nounad·sorb·ent, adjective, nounad·sorp·tion [ad-sawrp-shuh n, -zawrp-] /ædˈsɔrp ʃən, -ˈzɔrp-/, nounad·sorp·tive, adjectivead·sorp·tive·ly, adverb
Can be confusedabsorb adsorb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for adsorbent

Contemporary Examples

British Dictionary definitions for adsorbent


  1. capable of adsorption
Show More
  1. a material, such as activated charcoal, on which adsorption can occur
Show More


  1. 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)
Show More
Derived Formsadsorbable, adjectiveadsorbability, nounadsorption, noun

Word Origin

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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

adsorbent in Medicine


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


  1. To take up by adsorption.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.