or kat·i·on

[ kat-ahy-uhn, -on ]

nounPhysical Chemistry.
  1. a positively charged ion that is attracted to the cathode in electrolysis.

  2. any positively charged atom or group of atoms (opposed to anion).

Origin of cation

1825–35; <Greek katión going down (neuter of katiṓn, present participle of kateînai ), equivalent to kat- cat- + -i- go + -on neuter present participle suffix

Other words from cation

  • cat·i·on·ic [kat-ahy-on-ik], /ˌkæt aɪˈɒn ɪk/, adjective
  • cat·i·on·i·cal·ly, adverb

Words Nearby cation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use cation in a sentence

  • Cations — a word I haven’t heard outside of bonsai since 10th grade chemistry — are positively charged particles that affect your tree’s ability to absorb nutrients from fertilizer.

    In praise of tiny trees | Max Falkowitz | December 17, 2021 | Vox
  • And Wiener announced on Thursday her intent to take a “little twit-cation.”

    Sex and the Twitter Girl | Jesse Ellison | October 13, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • Bobby wondered if Richard wouldn't grow up before they did, he was so much bigger, and then what would become of his edge-cation?

  • I haven't a doubt but what you'll have a curly-tailed edge-cation all right, Bobby, when the time comes, pigs or no pigs.

  • This is the cli—cli—climax of Eas—Eas—Easter vac—c—c—c—c—cation!

    Pee-Wee Harris Adrift | Percy Keese Fitzhugh

British Dictionary definitions for cation


/ (ˈkætaɪən) /

  1. a positively charged ion; an ion that is attracted to the cathode during electrolysis: Compare anion

Origin of cation

C19: from cata- + ion

Derived forms of cation

  • cationic (ˌkætaɪˈɒnɪk), adjective

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

Scientific definitions for cation


[ kătī′ən ]

  1. An ion with net positive charge, having more protons than electrons. In electrolysis, cations migrate to a negatively charged cathode. Compare anion.

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