Simple Definition of catalyst
: a substance that causes a chemical reaction to happen more quickly
: a person or event that quickly causes change or action
Full Definition of catalyst
1 : a substance that enables a chemical reaction to proceed at a usually faster rate or under different conditions (as at a lower temperature) than otherwise possible
2 : an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action
Examples of catalyst in a sentence
The bombing attack was the catalyst for war.
She was proud to be a catalyst for reform in the government.
Word History of catalyst
Catalyst is a fairly recent addition to the English language, first appearing at the start of the 20th century with its chemistry meaning. It was formed from the word catalysis, another chemistry term which refers to a modification and especially an increase in the rate of a chemical reaction induced by material unchanged chemically at the end of the reaction. By the 1940s, the figurative sense of catalyst was in use for someone or something that quickly causes change or action.
First Known Use of catalyst
Medical Definition of catalyst
: a substance (as an enzyme) that enables a chemical reaction to proceed at a usually faster rate or under different conditions (as at a lower temperature) than otherwise possible
Seen and Heard
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