verb (used with object), sa·pon·i·fied, sa·pon·i·fy·ing.
to convert (a fat) into soap by treating with an alkali.
to decompose (any ester), forming the corresponding alcohol and acid or salt.
verb (used without object), sa·pon·i·fied, sa·pon·i·fy·ing.
to become converted into soap.
Origin of saponify
1815–25;Related formssa·pon·i·fi·a·ble, adjectivesa·pon·i·fi·ca·tion, nounsa·pon·i·fi·er, nounnon·sa·pon·i·fi·a·ble, adjectivenon·sa·pon·i·fi·ca·tion, nounun·sa·pon·i·fi·a·ble, adjectiveun·sa·pon·i·fied, adjective
< Latin sāpōn-
(stem of sāpō
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for saponification
Historical Examples of saponification
British Dictionary definitions for saponification
verb -fies, -fying or -fied chem
Derived Formssaponifiable, adjectivesaponifier, nounsaponification, noun
to undergo or cause to undergo a process in which a fat is converted into a soap by treatment with alkali
to undergo or cause to undergo a reaction in which an ester is hydrolysed to an acid and an alcohol as a result of treatment with an alkali
Word Origin for saponify
C19: from French saponifier, from Latin sāpō soap
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for saponification
1801, from French saponification, from saponifier, from Modern Latin saponificare, from sapon- "soap" (see soap (n.)) + -ficare, from Latin facere "to make, do" (see factitious).
1821, from French saponifier (see saponification). Related: Saponified; saponifying.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
saponification in Medicine
A reaction in which an ester is heated with an alkali, such as sodium hydroxide, producing a free alcohol and an acid salt, especially alkaline hydrolysis of a fat or oil to make soap.
To undergo saponification.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.