- any of various bases, the hydroxides of the alkali metals and of ammonium, that neutralize acids to form salts and turn red litmus paper blue.
- any of various other more or less active bases, as calcium hydroxide.
- (not in technical use) an alkali metal.
- Obsolete.any of various other compounds, as the carbonates of sodium and potassium.
- Agriculture. a soluble mineral salt or a mixture of soluble salts, present in some soils, especially in arid regions, and detrimental to the growing of most crops.
- Chemistry. alkaline.
Origin of alkali
Examples from the Web for alkali
The microscopic test of the distribution of alkali in the blood.Histology of the Blood
The day had been long, and the alkali lay light on the desert.Whispering Smith
Frank H. Spearman
Be ready to tie your neckerchief over your nose, soon as we strike the alkali.Bloom of Cactus
Robert Ames Bennet
Wonder if she would have any use for a maverick rancher from the alkali 174 country?The Pirate of Panama
William MacLeod Raine
A determination of alkali therefore determines the percentage of cellulose.Researches on Cellulose
C. F. Cross
- chem a soluble base or a solution of a base
- a soluble mineral salt that occurs in arid soils and some natural waters
Word Origin and History for alkali
late 14c., "soda ash," from Medieval Latin alkali, from Arabic al-qaliy "the ashes, burnt ashes" (of saltwort, a plant growing in alkaline soils), from qala "to roast in a pan." The modern chemistry sense is from 1813.
- A carbonate or hydroxide of an alkali metal, the aqueous solution of which is bitter, slippery, caustic, and characteristically basic in reactions.
- Any of various soluble mineral salts found in natural water and arid soils.
- Alkali metal.
- A hydroxide of an alkali metal. The aqueous solution of alkalis is bitter, slippery, caustic, and characteristically basic in reactions.