detergent

1 of 2

adjective

de·​ter·​gent di-ˈtər-jənt How to pronounce detergent (audio)
: that cleanses : cleansing
a detergent oil

detergent

2 of 2

noun

: a cleansing agent: such as
a
: soap
b
: any of numerous synthetic water-soluble or liquid organic preparations that are chemically different from soaps but are able to emulsify oils, hold dirt in suspension, and act as wetting agents
c
: an oil-soluble substance that holds insoluble foreign matter in suspension and is used in lubricating oils and dry-cleaning solvents

Examples of detergent in a Sentence

Noun We have tried different laundry detergents. add the detergent to the washing machine before putting in the clothes
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Insects are covered in waxy, water-repellent shells, but the velvet worm’s slime contains fat and detergent molecules that break past this defence. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 1 June 2010 Our tester used their Black+Decker washer with a detergent infusion to blast bugs from the grill of their car and found that the power washer stripped away all mess and detritus. Gabriel Morgan, Better Homes & Gardens, 10 Nov. 2022
Noun
Using any type of soap, detergent, bleach or chemical substance on vegetables to eat is not recommended by the FDA. Marina Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 6 June 2024 Finally, detergent nozzles have a lower pressure and—just like the name implies—you’ll use them for washing surfaces with soap or other types of detergent. Brittany Vanderbill, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for detergent 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'detergent.' 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

Adjective

1616, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1676, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of detergent was in 1616

Dictionary Entries Near detergent

Cite this Entry

“Detergent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/detergent. Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

detergent

1 of 2 adjective
de·​ter·​gent di-ˈtər-jənt How to pronounce detergent (audio)
: able to clean : used in cleansing
detergent oil for engines

detergent

2 of 2 noun
: a substance that cleanses
especially : a chemical product that is like soap in its ability to cleanse

Medical Definition

detergent

1 of 2 adjective
de·​ter·​gent di-ˈtər-jənt How to pronounce detergent (audio)
: having a cleansing action

detergent

2 of 2 noun
: a cleansing agent: as
b
: any of numerous synthetic water-soluble or liquid organic preparations that are chemically different from soaps but are able to emulsify oils, hold dirt in suspension, and act as wetting agents

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