[ sin-thuh-sis ]
See synonyms for synthesis on
noun,plural syn·the·ses [sin-thuh-seez]. /ˈsɪn θəˌsiz/.
  1. the combining of the constituent elements of separate material or abstract entities into a single or unified entity (opposed to analysis).

  2. a complex whole formed by combining.

  1. Chemistry. the forming or building of a more complex substance or compound from elements or simpler compounds.

  2. Philosophy. the third stage of argument in Hegelian dialectic, which reconciles the mutually contradictory first two propositions, thesis and antithesis.

  3. Biology. modern synthesis, a consolidation of the results of various lines of investigation from the 1920s through the 1950s that supported and reconciled the Darwinian theory of evolution and the Mendelian laws of inheritance in terms of natural selection acting on genetic variation.

  4. Psychology, Psychiatry. the integration of traits, attitudes, and impulses to create a total personality.

Origin of synthesis

First recorded in 1580–90; from Latin, from Greek sýnthesis, from syn- syn- + the- (stem of tithénai “to put, place”) + -sis -sis

Other words from synthesis

  • syn·the·sist, noun
  • non·syn·the·sis, noun, plural non·syn·the·ses.
  • re·syn·the·sis, noun, plural re·syn·the·ses.

Words that may be confused with synthesis Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use synthesis in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for synthesis


/ (ˈsɪnθɪsɪs) /

nounplural -ses (-ˌsiːz)
  1. the process of combining objects or ideas into a complex whole: Compare analysis

  2. the combination or whole produced by such a process

  1. the process of producing a compound by a chemical reaction or series of reactions, usually from simpler or commonly available starting materials

  2. linguistics the use of inflections rather than word order and function words to express the syntactic relations in a language: Compare analysis (def. 5)

  3. philosophy archaic synthetic reasoning

  4. philosophy

    • (in the writings of Kant) the unification of one concept with another not contained in it: Compare analysis (def. 7)

    • the final stage in the Hegelian dialectic, that resolves the contradiction between thesis and antithesis

Origin of synthesis

C17: via Latin from Greek sunthesis, from suntithenai to put together, from syn- + tithenai to place

Derived forms of synthesis

  • synthesist, noun

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 synthesis


[ sĭnthĭ-sĭs ]

Plural syntheses (sĭnthĭ-sēz′)
  1. The formation of a chemical compound through the combination of simpler compounds or elements.

Other words from synthesis

  • synthesize verb

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.