saponify

[ suh-pon-uh-fahy ]
/ səˈpɒn əˌfaɪ /
Chemistry
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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; < Latin sāpōn- (stem of sāpō) soap + -ify

Related forms

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for saponification

British Dictionary definitions for saponification

saponify

/ (səˈpɒnɪˌfaɪ) /

verb -fies, -fying or -fied chem

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

Derived Forms

saponifiable, adjectivesaponifier, nounsaponification, noun

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 Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medicine definitions for saponification (1 of 2)

saponification

[ sə-pŏn′ə-fĭ-kāshən ]

n.

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.

Medicine definitions for saponification (2 of 2)

saponify

[ sə-pŏnə-fī′ ]

v.

To undergo saponification.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.