[ ih-lek-truh-lahyt ]

  1. Physical Chemistry.

    • Also called electrolytic conductor . a conducting medium in which the flow of current is accompanied by the movement of matter in the form of ions.

    • any substance that dissociates into ions when dissolved in a suitable medium or melted and thus forms a conductor of electricity.

  2. Physiology. any of certain inorganic compounds, mainly sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride, and bicarbonate, that dissociate in biological fluids into ions capable of conducting electrical currents and constituting a major force in controlling fluid balance within the body.

Origin of electrolyte

First recorded in 1825–35; electro- + -lyte1

Other words from electrolyte

  • non·e·lec·tro·lyte, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for electrolyte


/ (ɪˈlɛktrəʊˌlaɪt) /

  1. a solution or molten substance that conducts electricity

    • a chemical compound that dissociates in solution into ions

    • any of the ions themselves

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 electrolyte


[ ĭ-lĕktrə-līt′ ]

  1. A melted or dissolved compound that has broken apart into ions (anions and cations). Applying an electric field across an electrolyte causes the anions and cations to move in opposite directions, thereby conducting electrical current while gradually separating the ions. See also electrodialysis electrolysis.

  2. Any of these ions found in body fluids. Electrolytes are needed by cells to regulate the flow of water molecules across cell membranes.

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

Cultural definitions for electrolyte


[ (i-lek-truh-leyet) ]

A substance that can serve as a conductor for an electric current (see also current) when it is dissolved in a solution. Electrolytes are found in the blood and tissue fluids of the body.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.