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.

Nearby words

  1. sapodilla family,
  2. saponaceous,
  3. saponaria,
  4. saponification,
  5. saponification number,
  6. saponin,
  7. saponite,
  8. sapor,
  9. saporific,
  10. saporosity

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 Formssaponifiable, 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

Word Origin and History for saponification
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for saponification

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.

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.