chi·​ral ˈkī-rəl How to pronounce chiral (audio)
: of or relating to a molecule that is not superimposable on its mirror image
chirality noun

Examples of chiral in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the new study, the researchers coupled chiral liquid crystals with fluorescent dyes that emitted red, green, or blue light. IEEE Spectrum, 16 Nov. 2023 Electrons with one spin orientation will move more efficiently across a chiral molecule in one direction than the other. Yasemin Saplakoglu, Quanta Magazine, 6 Sep. 2023 But, strangely, the calculation that came closest used an oversimplified model of the nuclear force—not the chiral effective field theory. WIRED, 10 Aug. 2023 The newest addition to the list is a chiral bose-liquid state, which scientists just observed for the first time. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, 14 July 2023 The formation and dissolution of these living chiral crystals is driven entirely by the embryos' development process. The Physics Arxiv Blog, Discover Magazine, 24 May 2021 Spearmint and caraway oils are mutually chiral. Rebecca Coffey, Forbes, 9 Dec. 2021 The amino acids and sugars that make up our bodies are chiral. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 14 Dec. 2016 However, the dirt reacting with chiral selectivity would change the picture dramatically. David Warmflash, Discover Magazine, 20 July 2016

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chiral.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


chir- + -al entry 1

First Known Use

1894, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chiral was in 1894

Dictionary Entries Near chiral

Cite this Entry

“Chiral.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Medical Definition


chi·​ral ˈkī-rəl How to pronounce chiral (audio)
of a molecule : having a structure that is nonsuperimposable on its mirror image
chiral molecules
: relating to or composed of chiral molecules
In discussions of chiral drugs, thalidomide is sometimes cited as a prime example of a drug that differs strikingly in the properties of its two enantiomers.Stephen C. Stinson, Chemical & Engineering News
: of, relating to, or being a chiral center
chirality noun
plural chiralities
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!