catalyst

[kat-l-ist]

WATCH NOW: Can A Person Be A Catalyst?

WATCH NOW: Can A Person Be A Catalyst?

A catalyst means "something that causes activity, an event, or change." And usually, these events and changes are big. But, can a catalyst be a person?

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noun

Chemistry. a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected.
something that causes activity between two or more persons or forces without itself being affected.
a person or thing that precipitates an event or change: His imprisonment by the government served as the catalyst that helped transform social unrest into revolution.
a person whose talk, enthusiasm, or energy causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic, or energetic.

Nearby words

  1. catalonian,
  2. catalpa,
  3. catalufa,
  4. catalyse,
  5. catalysis,
  6. catalytic,
  7. catalytic converter,
  8. catalytic cracker,
  9. catalytic cracking,
  10. catalyze

Origin of catalyst

First recorded in 1900–05; cataly(sis) + (-i)st

Related formsself-cat·a·lyst, nounsem·i·cat·a·lyst, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for catalyst


British Dictionary definitions for catalyst

catalyst

noun

a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself suffering any permanent chemical changeCompare inhibitor (def. 2)
a person or thing that causes a change
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 catalyst

catalyst

n.

"substance which speeds a chemical reaction but itself remains unchanged," 1902, formed in English (on analogy of analyst) from catalysis. Figurative use by 1943.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for catalyst

catalyst

[kătl-ĭst]

n.

A substance, usually used in small amounts relative to the reactants, that modifies and increases the rate of a reaction without being consumed in the process.
Related formscat′a•lytic (kăt′l-ĭtĭk) adj.


The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for catalyst

catalyst

[kătl-ĭst]

A substance that starts or speeds up a chemical reaction while undergoing no permanent change itself. The enzymes in saliva, for example, are catalysts in digestion.
Related formscatalytic adjective (kăt′l-ĭtĭk)

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for catalyst

catalyst

[(kat-uh-list)]

In chemistry, a substance that causes a chemical reaction to occur but is not itself involved in the reaction.

Note

The term catalyst is often used to refer to the prime agent of any change: “She was the catalyst for the reorganization.”

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.