[kem-i-kuh l]


a substance produced by or used in a chemical process.
chemicals, Slang. narcotic or mind-altering drugs or substances.


of, used in, produced by, or concerned with chemistry or chemicals: a chemical formula; chemical agents.
used in chemical warfare: chemical weapons.

Origin of chemical

1570–80; chemic + -al1; replacing chimical chemic
Related formschem·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·chem·i·cal, adjective, nounpre·chem·i·cal, adjectivepseu·do·chem·i·cal, adjectivesem·i·chem·i·cal, adjectivesem·i·chem·i·cal·ly, adverbsu·per·chem·i·cal, adjective, nounsu·per·chem·i·cal·ly, adverbun·chem·i·cal, adjectiveun·chem·i·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for chemical

synthetic, actinic, alchemical, enzymatic, synthetical

Examples from the Web for chemical

Contemporary Examples of chemical

Historical Examples of chemical

  • The air was saturated by it just as water may hold a chemical in solution.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • He took a house near the chemical laboratory, to which he brought his wife and family.

  • But happily for me they accepted my statement as to their chemical nature in other respects.

  • There is also a change in chemical conditions, the water at least being decomposed.

  • In the latter the union is mechanical; in the former it is chemical.

British Dictionary definitions for chemical



any substance used in or resulting from a reaction involving changes to atoms or molecules, especially one derived artificially for practical use


of or used in chemistrychemical balance
of, made from, or using chemicalschemical fertilizer
Derived Formschemically, adverb
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 chemical

1570s, "relating to chemistry," from chemic "of alchemy" (a worn-down derivative of Medieval Latin alchimicus; see alchemy) + -al (1). In early use also of alchemy. Related: Chemically.


1747, from chemical (adj.). Related: Chemicals.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

chemical in Medicine




Of or relating to chemistry.
Of or relating to the properties or actions of chemicals.


A substance with a distinct molecular composition that is produced by or used in a chemical process.
A drug, especially an illicit or addictive one.
Related formschemi•cal•ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

chemical in Science




Relating to or produced by means of chemistry.


A substance having a specific molecular composition, obtained by or used in a chemical process.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.