[ sin-thet-ik ]
See synonyms for: syntheticsyntheticssynthetically on

  1. of, pertaining to, proceeding by, or involving synthesis (opposed to analytic).

  2. noting or pertaining to compounds formed through a chemical process by human agency, as opposed to those of natural origin: synthetic vitamins; synthetic fiber.

  1. (of a language) characterized by a relatively widespread use of affixes, rather than separate words, to express syntactic relationships: Latin is a synthetic language, while English is analytic.: Compare analytic (def. 3), polysynthetic (def. 1).

  2. Also syn·thet·i·cal. Logic. of or relating to a noncontradictory proposition in which the predicate is not included in, or entailed by, the subject.

  3. not real or genuine; artificial; feigned: a synthetic chuckle at a poor joke.

  4. Jewelry.

    • noting a gem mineral manufactured so as to be physically, chemically, and optically identical with the mineral as found in nature.

    • (not in technical use) noting a gem mineral manufactured and pigmented in imitation of a natural gemstone of that name.

  1. something made by a synthetic, or chemical, process.

  2. synthetics.

    • substances or products made by chemical synthesis, as plastics or artificial fibers.

    • the science or industry concerned with such products.

Origin of synthetic

1690–1700; <New Latin syntheticus<Greek synthetikós, equivalent to synthet(ós) placed together, verbid of syntithénai to put together (syn-syn- + the-, stem of tithénai to put, place + -tos verbid suffix) + -ikos-ic

Other words for synthetic

Other words from synthetic

  • syn·thet·i·cal·ly, adverb
  • non·syn·thet·ic, adjective
  • non·syn·thet·i·cal, adjective
  • non·syn·thet·i·cal·ly, adverb
  • un·syn·thet·ic, adjective
  • un·syn·thet·i·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use synthetic in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for synthetic


/ (sɪnˈθɛtɪk) /

adjectiveAlso: synthetical
  1. (of a substance or material) made artificially by chemical reaction

  2. not genuine; insincere: synthetic compassion

  1. denoting languages, such as Latin, whose morphology is characterized by synthesis: Compare polysynthetic, agglutinative (def. 2), analytic (def. 3)

  2. philosophy

    • (of a proposition) having a truth-value that is not determined solely by virtue of the meanings of the words, as in all men are arrogant

    • contingent: Compare a posteriori, empirical

  1. a synthetic substance or material

Origin of synthetic

C17: from New Latin syntheticus, from Greek sunthetikos expert in putting together, from suntithenai to put together; see synthesis

Derived forms of synthetic

  • synthetically, 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 synthetic


[ sĭn-thĕtĭk ]

  1. Produced artificially, especially in a laboratory or other man-made environment. Nylon is a synthetic chemical compound.

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