chi·​ral | \ ˈkī-rəl How to pronounce chiral (audio) \

Definition of chiral

: of or relating to a molecule that is not superimposable on its mirror image

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Other Words from chiral

chirality \ kī-​ˈra-​lə-​tē How to pronounce chiral (audio) , kə-​ \ noun

Examples of chiral in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But instead of evaluating a chemical, the researchers plan to roast the microbes with beams of chiral electrons or muons. Quanta Magazine, "Cosmic Rays May Explain Life’s Bias for Right-Handed DNA," 29 June 2020 That occurs because the shape is chiral and cannot be transformed into its perfect mirror image. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "We Can Learn a Lot from the Twisted Molecules in Seashells," 30 Sep. 2019 Typically, these are very small twisted metal wires that are also chiral. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "We Can Learn a Lot from the Twisted Molecules in Seashells," 30 Sep. 2019 Scientists now have an enzyme that doesn’t need a chiral world. Quanta Magazine, "New Twist Found in the Story of Life’s Start," 26 Nov. 2014 To make the calculation possible, chiral effective field theory employs a math trick sometimes used in high school calculus. Quanta Magazine, "A Primordial Nucleus Behind the Elements of Life," 4 Dec. 2012 The game's plot revolves around the rebuilding of U.S. infrastructure through a system of information nodes called the chiral network. Kahlief Adams, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Death Stranding': Game Review," 1 Nov. 2019 In a new discovery, reported last week in Science, researchers identified the first complex organic chiral molecule in interstellar space. Quanta Magazine, "Interstellar Find Adds Life to Old Debate," 20 June 2016 As plants die, their chiral molecules die with them. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Alien Plant Hunter Taking First Steps on Earth. Next Stop: Jupiter," 22 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chiral.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of chiral

1894, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chiral

chir- + -al entry 1

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Time Traveler for chiral

Time Traveler

The first known use of chiral was in 1894

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Statistics for chiral

Cite this Entry

“Chiral.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for chiral


chi·​ral | \ ˈkī-rəl How to pronounce chiral (audio) \

Medical Definition of chiral

1a of a molecule : having a structure that is nonsuperimposable on its mirror image chiral molecules
b : 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, 19 Sept. 1994
2 : of, relating to, or being a chiral center

Other Words from chiral

chirality \ kī-​ˈral-​ət-​ē How to pronounce chiral (audio) \ noun, plural chiralities

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