• synonyms


  1. the chemical decomposition of materials under the influence of light.
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Origin of photolysis

First recorded in 1910–15; photo- + -lysis
Related formspho·to·lyt·ic [foht-l-it-ik] /ˌfoʊt lˈɪt ɪk/, adjective


verb (used with object), pho·to·lyzed, pho·to·lyz·ing.
  1. to break down molecules with light.
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verb (used without object), pho·to·lyzed, pho·to·lyz·ing.
  1. to experience photolysis.
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Also especially British, pho·to·lyse.

Origin of photolyze

1935–40; photo(lysis) + -lyze, on the model of analysis, analyze
Related formspho·to·ly·za·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for photolyses


  1. chemical decomposition caused by light or other electromagnetic radiationCompare radiolysis
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Derived Formsphotolytic (ˌfəʊtəʊˈlɪtɪk), adjective
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

photolyses in Medicine


  1. Chemical decomposition induced by light or other radiant energy.
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Related formspho′to•lytic (fō′tə-lĭtĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

photolyses in Science


  1. Chemical decomposition induced by light or other radiant energy. Photolysis plays an important role in photosynthesis, during which it produces energy by splitting water molecules into gaseous oxygen and hydrogen ions.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.