Definition of anneal
1a : to heat and then cool (a material, such as steel or glass) usually for softening and making less brittle; also : to cool slowly usually in a furnaceb : to heat and then cool (double-stranded nucleic acid) in order to separate strands and induce combination at lower temperature with complementary strands
: to be capable of combining with complementary nucleic acid by a process of heating and cooling
anneal was our Word of the Day on 05/02/2008. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Recent Examples of anneal from the Web
To make the object, the copper was alternately hammered and annealed—a process of heating metal and allowing it to cool slowly.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anneal'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
anneal Has a Firey History
If you were looking for a saying to apply to the word anneal, it might be "everything old is new again." The word was originally associated with one of the oldest technologies of humankind: fire. It derives from the Old English word onælan, which was formed from the Old English root āl, meaning "fire." In its earliest known uses, which date from around the year 1000, anneal meant simply "to set on fire." That sense has become obsolete, however, and nowadays anneal is associated with a much more recent technological development. It has come to be used in the context of DNA research, in reference to the heating and cooling of double-stranded nucleic acid.
Origin and Etymology of anneal
Middle English anelen to set on fire, from Old English onǣlan, from on + ǣlan to set on fire, burn, from āl fire; akin to Old English ǣled fire, Old Norse eldr
First Known Use: 1664See Words from the same year
ANNEAL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of anneal for English Language Learners
: to heat and then slowly cool (metal, glass, etc.) in order to make it stronger
ANNEAL Defined for Kids
Definition of anneal for Students
: to heat (as glass or steel) and then cool so as to toughen and make less brittle
Medical Definition of anneal
1: to heat and then cool (as steel or glass) usually for softening and making less brittle
2: to heat and then cool (double-stranded nucleic acid) in order to separate strands and induce combination at lower temperatures especially with complementary strands
intransitive verb: to be capable of combining with complementary nucleic acid by a process of heating and cooling some bacterial nucleic acid anneals well with eukaryotic DNA
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up anneal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).