denature

verb

de·​na·​ture (ˌ)dē-ˈnā-chər How to pronounce denature (audio)
denatured; denaturing (ˌ)dē-ˈnā-ch(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce denature (audio)

transitive verb

1
2
: to deprive of natural qualities : change the nature of: such as
a
: to make (alcohol) unfit for drinking (as by adding an obnoxious substance) without impairing usefulness for other purposes
b
: to modify the molecular structure of (something, such as a protein or DNA) especially by heat, acid, alkali, or ultraviolet radiation so as to destroy or diminish some of the original properties and especially the specific biological activity
denaturant noun

Examples of denature in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Wine can be cleaned using shampoo and denatured alcohol. Samantha S. Thorpe, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 Oct. 2023 Whey proteins tend to denature a bit during pasteurization. Claire Bugos, Verywell Health, 20 July 2023 The real guesswork concerns the narrator’s relationship to his homeland, a place all but denatured by his benumbed observations. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 8 Aug. 2023 However, slightly denaturing whey protein actually improves how easily the body can digest it and make use of its nutrients, according to Lucey. Claire Bugos, Verywell Health, 20 July 2023 To make yogurt, milk is first heated to 180 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes to denature the whey proteins; this allows the proteins to form a more stable gel. Ashton Yoon, Discover Magazine, 4 July 2017 First, denatured alcohol and odorless mineral spirits are different things. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, 17 Mar. 2023 As the lime juice diffuses into the fish, its low pH will cause the proteins in the fish to denature and form protein networks. Liz Roth-Johnson, Discover Magazine, 26 Mar. 2013 Mechanical stress from rigorously beating the egg whites causes the egg white proteins to denature, unfold from their natural structure. Alice Chi Phung, Discover Magazine, 8 Mar. 2016 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1685, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of denature was in 1685

Dictionary Entries Near denature

Cite this Entry

“Denature.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/denature. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

denature

verb
de·​na·​ture (ˈ)dē-ˈnā-chər How to pronounce denature (audio)
denatured; denaturing -ˈnāch-(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce denature (audio)
: to remove the natural qualities of: as
a
: to make (alcohol) unfit for drinking without taking away usefulness for other purposes
b
: to change the structure of (as a protein) so that the original properties are removed or diminished

Medical Definition

denature

verb
de·​na·​ture (ˈ)dē-ˈnā-chər How to pronounce denature (audio)
denatured; denaturing -ˈnāch-(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce denature (audio)

transitive verb

: to deprive of natural qualities: as
a
: to make (alcohol) unfit for drinking (as by adding an obnoxious substance) without impairing usefulness for other purposes
b
: to modify the molecular structure of (as a protein or DNA) especially by heat, acid, alkali, or ultraviolet radiation so as to destroy or diminish some of the original properties and especially the specific biological activity

More from Merriam-Webster on denature

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