[ 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 adsorption

British Dictionary definitions for adsorption


/ (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 adsorption



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 adsorption (1 of 2)


[ ăd-zôrpshən ]


The property of a solid or liquid to attract and hold to its surface a gas, liquid, solute, or suspension.

Medicine definitions for adsorption (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.

Science definitions for adsorption


[ ăd-sôrpshən ]

The process by which molecules of a substance, such as a gas or a liquid, collect on the surface of another substance, such as a solid. The molecules are attracted to the surface but do not enter the solid's minute spaces as in absorption. Some drinking water filters consist of carbon cartridges that adsorb contaminants. Compare absorption.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for adsorption


The assimilation of a gas, liquid, or dissolved substance by the surface of a solid.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.