[sol-vuh nt]
See more synonyms for solvent on
  1. a substance that dissolves another to form a solution: Water is a solvent for sugar.
  2. something that solves or explains.

Origin of solvent

1620–30; < Latin solvent- (stem of solvēns), present participle of solvere to loosen. See solve, -ent
Related formssol·vent·less, adjectivesol·vent·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for solvent

solid, firm, fit, stable

Examples from the Web for solvent

Contemporary Examples of solvent

Historical Examples of solvent

British Dictionary definitions for solvent


  1. capable of meeting financial obligations
  2. (of a substance, esp a liquid) capable of dissolving another substance
  1. a liquid capable of dissolving another substancewater is a solvent for salt
  2. the component of a solution that does not change its state in forming the solution or the component that is present in excessCompare solute
  3. something that solves
Derived Formssolvently, adverb

Word Origin for solvent

C17: from Latin solvēns releasing, from solvere to free, solve
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 solvent

1650s, "able to pay all one owes," from French solvent, from Latin solventem (nominative solvens), present participle of solvere "loosen, dissolve" (see solve).


"substance able to dissolve other substances," 1670s, from Latin solventem (see solvent (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

solvent in Medicine


  1. Capable of dissolving another substance.
  1. A substance in which another substance is dissolved, forming a solution.
  2. A substance capable of dissolving another substance.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

solvent in Science


  1. A substance that can dissolve another substance, or in which another substance is dissolved, forming a solution. Water is the most common solvent.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.