[ ih-muhl-suh-fahy ]
/ ɪˈmʌl səˌfaɪ /
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See synonyms for: emulsify / emulsified / emulsifiable on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with or without object), e·mul·si·fied, e·mul·si·fy·ing.

to make into or form an emulsion.



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Origin of emulsify

First recorded in 1855–60; from Latin ēmuls(us) (see emulsion) + -ify
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does emulsify mean?

To emulsify is to form an emulsion—a mixture of two liquids that don’t fully combine.

An emulsion may look like a single liquid, but it’s made up of particles of one liquid distributed throughout another liquid. For example, if you emulsify oil and water, it forms an emulsion in which small droplets of oil are suspended in the water, but the two liquids aren’t fully blended together (as they would be if you stirred together water and vinegar, for example).

In technical chemistry terms, an emulsion is a colloidal suspension in which the substances mixed together are both liquids. Both colloids and suspensions involve particles of one substance distributed in another without being dissolved.

Emulsions are used in a variety of contexts, including pharmacology, cooking, and photography.

In cooking, liquids or liquid-like ingredients are emulsified in order to make sauces with a smooth consistency. A common example of an emulsion is the kind of salad dressings called a vinaigrette, which is made by emulsifying oil and vinegar.

Example: To emulsify oil and vinegar, you have to whisk very hard to separate the oil into tiny droplets, or else the two liquids will separate.

Where does emulsify come from?

The first records of the word emulsify come from the 1850s. It ultimately comes from the Latin emulsus, meaning “milked out,” from the Latin verb mulgēre, “to milk.”

A less common meaning of emulsion is “any liquid resembling milk.” We don’t usually think of milk as an emulsion, but it consists of water and milk fat that have been emulsified. The reason we don’t notice is because the fat particles have been distributed equally through the process of homogenization. Milk that is sold with the original amount of fat (or cream) is often called whole milk. Milk that has had some of this cream removed is called skim milk. 

Emulsions have all kinds of practical applications. Many medications consist of an oily medicine that has been emulsified with another liquid. In cooking, emulsifying ingredients allows them to be combined into a single sauce. Sometimes, an emulsion “breaks”—meaning the two substances separate, and must be emulsified again. An emulsifier is an ingredient added to an emulsion to help keep it stable.

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What are some other forms related to emulsify?

  • emulsified (past tense verb, adjective)
  • emulsifier (noun)
  • emulsifiable (adjective)
  • emulsible (adjective)
  • emulsifiability (noun)
  • emulsibility (noun)
  • emulsion (noun)

What are some synonyms for emulsify?

What are some words that share a root or word element with emulsify

What are some words that often get used in discussing emulsify?

How is emulsify used in real life?

The word emulsify is commonly used in cooking, but emulsions have applications in many fields.



Try using emulsify!

True or False? 

You can emulsify a liquid and a gas.

British Dictionary definitions for emulsify

/ (ɪˈmʌlsɪˌfaɪ) /

verb -fies, -fying or -fied

to make or form into an emulsion
emulsifiable or emulsible, adjectiveemulsification, 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

Medical definitions for emulsify

[ ĭ-mŭlsə-fī′ ]


To make into an emulsion.
e•mul′si•fi•cation (-fĭ-kāshən) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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