[ sol-vuhnt ]
See synonyms for: solventsolvents on

  1. able to pay all just debts.

  2. having the power of dissolving; causing solution.

  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

First recorded in 1620–30; from Latin solvent-, stem of solvēns “loosening,” present participle of solvere “to loosen, release”; see solve

Other words from solvent

  • sol·vent·less, adjective
  • sol·vent·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use solvent in a sentence

  • The commercial grades of the solvents often contain impurities that leave a brown ring after evaporation.

    Textiles | William H. Dooley
  • Turpentine, petroleum spirit and other solvents are also used to thin the varnishes.

    Animal Proteins | Hugh Garner Bennett

British Dictionary definitions for solvent


/ (ˈsɒlvənt) /

  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 substance: water 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 excess: Compare solute

  1. something that solves

Origin of solvent

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

Derived forms of solvent

  • solvently, adverb

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

Scientific definitions for solvent


[ sŏlvənt ]

  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.