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 That waterway became the catalyst of the area's industrialization. He was the catalyst in the native uprising.
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.
Recent Examples of catalyst from the Web
Serdinsky has participated in several projects and activities as well as serving as a catalyst for new ideas and fundraisers.
The image enraged and emboldened black folks, and it is considered among a long list of catalysts for the Civil Rights activism of the mid-twentieth century.
Sanchez, 26, is the catalyst of a Sporting KC team determined to play with the ball more this season.
Along with fellow seniors Quinn Willis and Will Corbi, Labetti was the catalyst of an offense that flashed chemistry, skill and a general lacrosse IQ rarely seen from a South Jersey team.
This could be a catalyst for making this happen better and faster.
Trump’s ostensibly reckless decision can be used either as a further excuse for continued apathy or as a catalyst for transforming our comfortable rhetoric into meaningful and timely action.
The catalyst for all this work is the Chehalis Foundation, a private nonprofit that raises money for the local schools.
Cvijanovic's claims of mistreatment by Beckman and his staff in 2015 served as a catalyst for an investigation that ultimately led to the Beckman's firing and to athletic director Mike Thomas' departure from the university.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'catalyst'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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.
Financial Definition of CATALYST
What It Is
A catalyst is news or information that changes a pricing trend in a security.
How It Works
Let's assume that Company XYZ announces earnings that far exceed analysts' expectations. This information could serve as a catalyst that kick-starts trading in the stock and changes its perception from a "dog" to a "star" among investors.
Let's take the example of a classic investment catalyst: adverse press publicity. A fundamentally strong company can get unfairly beaten up by the press and by analysts, driving down its stock price to unjustified lows. In this case, the catalyst would signal a great opportunity for investors to buy, not sell.
Why It Matters
Catalysts can change the perception of a security. They can be almost anything: earnings releases, favorable or unfavorable economic reports, management changes, new products, product recalls, successful (or unsuccessful) marketing campaigns, lawsuits, etc.
Quite often, catalysts are the news or events that finally call attention to fundamentals or other intrinsic factors that have existed for some time in a security. When investors can identify what events or information will be catalysts for a particular security, they essentially are able to predict which way the security will go if and when the information becomes public knowledge.
However, catalysts must be considered within the context of investment strategy. Investors buy when they anticipate the market will rise; they sell when they anticipate the market will fall. Catalysts are only one factor in the equation.
CATALYST Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of catalyst for English Language Learners
: a substance that causes a chemical reaction to happen more quickly
: a person or event that quickly causes change or action
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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