• synonyms


verb (used with object), mer·cer·ized, mer·cer·iz·ing.
  1. to treat (cotton yarns or fabric) with caustic alkali under tension, in order to increase strength, luster, and affinity for dye.
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Also especially British, mer·cer·ise.

Origin of mercerize

1855–60; named after John Mercer (1791–1866), English calico printer, the patentee (1850) of the process; see -ize
Related formsmer·cer·i·za·tion, nounmer·cer·iz·er, nounun·mer·cer·ized, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mercerization

Historical Examples

  • This was the beginning of the mercerization which to-day produces cotton fabrics almost as strong and handsome as if silk.

    Inventors at Work

    George Iles

  • The reactions and structural changes were investigated by J. Mercer, and are known generally as “mercerization.”

British Dictionary definitions for mercerization



  1. (tr) to treat (cotton yarn) with an alkali to increase its strength and reception to dye and impart a lustrous silky appearance
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Derived Formsmercerization or mercerisation, noun

Word Origin

C19: named after John Mercer (1791–1866), English maker of textiles
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