• synonyms


adjective Chemistry.
  1. capable of functioning either as an acid or as a base.
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Origin of amphoteric

1840–50; < Greek amphóter(os) (comparative of ámphō both; cognate with Latin ambō) + -ic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for amphoteric

Historical Examples of amphoteric

  • In regard to the indications of the amphoteric character of stronger acids, see Chapter XV.

    The Elements of Qualitative Chemical Analysis, vol. 1, parts 1 and 2.

    Julius Stieglitz

  • Bodies of this kind are known as "amphoteric electrolytes," since they yield both positive and negative ions, if dissociated.

    The Chemistry of Plant Life

    Roscoe Wilfred Thatcher

British Dictionary definitions for amphoteric


  1. chem able to function as either a base or an acidAlso: amphiprotic
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Word Origin for amphoteric

C19: from Greek amphoteros each of two (from amphō both) + -ic
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 amphoteric


"neither acid nor alkaline," 1832, from Greek amphoteros "each or both of two," variant of amphi-.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

amphoteric in Medicine


  1. Having the capacity to react as either an acid or a base.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

amphoteric in Science


  1. Capable of reacting chemically as either an acid or a base. Water, ammonia, and the hydroxides of certain metals are amphoteric.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.