See more synonyms for gel on
  1. Physical Chemistry. a semirigid colloidal dispersion of a solid with a liquid or gas, as jelly, glue, etc.
  2. Theater. gelatin(def 5).
  3. Biochemistry. a semirigid polymer, as agarose, starch, cellulose acetate, or polyacrylamide, cast into slabs or cylinders for the electrophoretic separation of proteins and nucleic acids.
verb (used without object), gelled, gel·ling.
  1. to form or become a gel.
  2. jell(def 2).

Origin of gel

First recorded in 1895–1900; shortening of gelatin
Related formsde·gel, verb (used with object), de·gelled, de·gel·ling.non·gel·ling, adjectivere·gel, verb (used without object), re·gelled, re·gel·ling. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gelling

Contemporary Examples of gelling

  • Gluten-free noodles are often made with some sort of gelling agent like xanthan gum to bind the ingredients together.

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    Harvard Students Play With Food

    Laura Colarusso

    December 28, 2010

British Dictionary definitions for gelling


  1. a semirigid jelly-like colloid in which a liquid is dispersed in a solidnondrip paint is a gel
  2. See hair gel
  3. theatre informal See gelatine (def. 4)
verb gels, gelling or gelled
  1. to become or cause to become a gel
  2. a variant spelling of jell

Word Origin for gel

C19: by shortening from gelatine
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 gelling



1899, as a chemical term, short for gelatin and perhaps influenced by jell. The invention of this word is credited to Scottish chemist Thomas Graham (1805-1869). Hair-styling sense is from 1958. The verb meaning "to become a gel" is attested by 1902; figurative sense is from 1958. Related: Gelled; gelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

gelling in Medicine


  1. A colloid in which the disperse phase combines with the dispersion medium to produce a semisolid material.
  1. To become a gel.
  2. To convert a sol into a gel.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.