noun, plural ca·tal·y·ses [kuh-tal-uh-seez] /kəˈtæl əˌsiz/.
  1. Chemistry. the causing or accelerating of a chemical change by the addition of a catalyst.
  2. an action between two or more persons or forces, initiated by an agent that itself remains unaffected by the action: social catalyses occasioned by controversial writings.

Origin of catalysis

1645–55; < New Latin < Greek katálȳsis dissolution, equivalent to katalȳ́(ein) to dissolve (kata- cata- + lȳ́ein to loosen) + -sis -sis
Related formscat·a·lyt·ic [kat-l-it-ik] /ˌkæt lˈɪt ɪk/, adjective, nouncat·a·lyt·i·cal, adjectivecat·a·lyt·i·cal·ly, adverban·ti·cat·a·lyt·ic, adjective, nounan·ti·cat·a·lyt·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·cat·a·lyt·ic, adjective, nounnon·cat·a·lyt·i·cal·ly, adverbself-ca·tal·y·sis, nounsem·i·cat·a·lyt·ic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for catalysis

Historical Examples of catalysis

  • We may look upon this process as a special kind of catalysis.

    The Wonders of Life

    Ernst Haeckel

  • "I think you can rely upon your powers of catalysis, Dorothy," he said.

    The Vanity Girl

    Compton Mackenzie

  • They've found the secret of catalysis, and can actually synthesize any catalytic agent they want.

    Islands of Space

    John W Campbell

  • We call this catalysis, catalytic action, the action of presence, or by what learned name we choose.

    Medical Essays

    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

  • The phenomenon known as "catalysis" is of common occurrence in both inorganic and organic chemistry.

    The Chemistry of Plant Life

    Roscoe Wilfred Thatcher

British Dictionary definitions for catalysis


noun plural -ses (-ˌsiːz)
  1. acceleration of a chemical reaction by the action of a catalyst

Word Origin for catalysis

C17: from New Latin, from Greek katalusis, from kataluein to dissolve
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 catalysis

1650s, "dissolution," from Latinized form of Greek katalysis "dissolution, a dissolving" (of governments, military units, etc.), from katalyein "to dissolve," from kata- "down" (or "completely"), see cata-, + lyein "to loosen" (see lose). Chemical sense "change caused by an agent which itself remains unchanged" is attested from 1836, introduced by Swedish chemist Jöns Jakob Berzelius (1779-1848).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

catalysis in Medicine


n. pl. ca•tal•y•ses (-sēz′)
  1. The action of a catalyst, especially an increase in the rate of a chemical reaction.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.