- to convert (a fat) into soap by treating with an alkali.
- to decompose (any ester), forming the corresponding alcohol and acid or salt.
- to become converted into soap.
Origin of saponify
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for saponify
Next to olive oil, this species is the most easy to saponify.
But to simplify the operation, he preferred to saponify the fat by means of lime.The Mysterious Island
This oil closely resembles cocoa-nut and palm-nut oils and is stated to saponify readily and yield a soap free from odour.The Handbook of Soap Manufacture
W. H. Simmons
Caustic soda is then added to saponify the fat not converted by the lime saponification.
First saponify 100 parts house grease and 100 parts ordinary grease and make a run soap.
- 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
C19: from French saponifier, from Latin sāpō soap
Word Origin and History for saponify
1821, from French saponifier (see saponification). Related: Saponified; saponifying.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- To undergo saponification.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.