detergent

[ dih-tur-juhnt ]
/ dɪˈtɜr dʒənt /

noun

any of a group of synthetic, organic, liquid or water-soluble cleaning agents that, unlike soap, are not prepared from fats and oils, are not inactivated by hard water, and have wetting-agent and emulsifying-agent properties.
a similar substance that is oil-soluble and capable of holding insoluble foreign matter in suspension, used in lubricating oils, dry-cleaning preparations, etc.
any cleansing agent, including soap.Compare anionic detergent, cationic detergent, synthetic detergent.

adjective

cleansing; purging.

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Origin of detergent

First recorded in 1610–20; from French or directly from Latin dētergent- (stem of dētergēns, present participle of dētergēre ) “to wipe off”); see origin at deterge, -ent

OTHER WORDS FROM detergent

non·de·ter·gent, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for detergent

British Dictionary definitions for detergent

detergent
/ (dɪˈtɜːdʒənt) /

noun

a cleansing agent, esp a surface-active chemical such as an alkyl sulphonate, widely used in industry, laundering, shampoos, etc

adjective Also: detersive (dɪˈtɜːsɪv)

having cleansing power

Word Origin for detergent

C17: from Latin dētergēns wiping off; see deterge
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

Medical definitions for detergent

detergent
[ dĭ-tûrjənt ]

n.

A cleansing substance that acts similarly to soap but is made from chemical compounds rather than fats and lye.

adj.

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

Scientific definitions for detergent

detergent
[ dĭ-tûrjənt ]

A cleaning agent that increases the ability of water to penetrate fabric and break down greases and dirt. Detergents act like soap but, unlike soaps, they are derived from organic acids rather than fatty acids. Their molecules surround particles of grease and dirt, allowing them to be carried away. Compare soap.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.