• synonyms


noun Chemistry.
  1. the subjection of organic compounds to very high temperatures.
  2. the resulting decomposition.
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Origin of pyrolysis

First recorded in 1885–90; pyro- + -lysis
Related formspy·ro·lyt·ic [pahy-ruh-lit-ik] /ˌpaɪ rəˈlɪt ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for pyrolysis


  1. the application of heat to chemical compounds in order to cause decomposition
  2. chemical decomposition of compounds caused by high temperatures
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Derived Formspyrolytic (ˌpaɪrəʊˈlɪtɪk), 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

Word Origin and History for pyrolysis


1879, from pyro- + -lysis. Related: Pyrolytic.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pyrolysis in Medicine


  1. Decomposition or transformation of a chemical compound caused by heat.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.