[ dee-ney-cher ]
See synonyms for denature on
verb (used with object),de·na·tured, de·na·tur·ing.
  1. to render (any of various alcohols) unfit for drinking by adding an unwholesome substance that does not alter usefulness for other purposes.

  2. Biochemistry. to treat (a protein or the like) by chemical or physical means so as to alter its original state.

  1. to make (fissionable material) unsuitable for use in an atomic weapon by mixing it with unfissionable material.

  2. to deprive (something) of its natural character, properties, etc.

Origin of denature

First recorded in 1675–85; de- + nature

Other words from denature

  • de·na·tur·ant [dee-ney-cher-uhnt], /diˈneɪ tʃər ənt/, noun
  • de·na·tur·a·tion [dee-ney-chuh-rey-shuhn], /diˌneɪ tʃəˈreɪ ʃən/, noun

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

How to use denature in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for denature


denaturize or denaturise (diːˈneɪtʃəˌraɪz)

/ (diːˈneɪtʃə) /

  1. to change the nature of

  2. to change (a protein) by chemical or physical means, such as the action of acid or heat, to cause loss of solubility, biological activity, etc

  1. to render (something, such as ethanol) unfit for consumption by adding nauseous substances

  2. to render (fissile material) unfit for use in nuclear weapons by addition of an isotope

Derived forms of denature

  • denaturant, noun
  • denaturation, noun

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 denature


[ dē-nāchər ]

  1. To cause the tertiary structure of a protein to unfold, as with heat, alkali, or acid, so that some of its original properties, especially its biological activity, are diminished or eliminated.

  2. To cause the paired strands of DNA to separate into individual strands.

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