detergent

adjective
de·​ter·​gent | \ di-ˈtər-jənt How to pronounce detergent (audio) \

Definition of detergent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: that cleanses : cleansing a detergent oil

detergent

noun

Definition of detergent (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for detergent

Synonyms: Noun

cleaner, cleanser, soap

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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: Noun

Ornelas recommends warm water and mild laundry detergent to clean the insides of sneakers. Isadora Baum, SELF, "Here’s How to Clean Sneakers Depending on the Material," 17 Feb. 2019 Hot water, excess detergent and unnecessarily vigorous washing will make your clothes fade and wear out earlier. Clinton Kelly, Woman's Day, "This Is the Right Way to Do Laundry," 14 Mar. 2017 Nearly all countertops do best when wiped down with a spray made of warm water and a mild liquid dish detergent. Elle Decor Staff, ELLE Decor, "How to Keep a Clean Kitchen," 28 Sep. 2011 Thus, Ben recommends sticking to shampoos with natural ingredients and cleansers, and straying from those with detergents, like silicone and sulfates. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "This Is How Often You Should Really Be Washing Your Hair," 12 Apr. 2019 Related The creativity struggle transcends the food business as a number of consumer-product giants are fending off the little guys on everything from razors to laundry detergent. John D. Stoll, WSJ, "Small Brands Are Taking a Thousand Little Bites Out of Campbell’s Business," 21 May 2018 Wash a plastic curtain on the highest water level with regular amount of detergent, and add two to three bath towels for extra cleaning agitation. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Rid of Mold and Mildew in the Mustiest Corners of Your House," 6 Feb. 2019 Voters evaluate a slew of everyday items—like dish detergent and paper towels—and rate them on a list of criteria such as: appeal, advocacy, satisfaction, uniqueness, and excitement. Rachel Jacoby, Woman's Day, "40,000 People Swear By These 36 Home Products," 8 Feb. 2019 Police found the man outside his residence, naked, covered in Tide laundry detergent, flailing his arms and throwing snow on his head, according to a police report. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Cudahy man allegedly tried to rape 14-year-old daughter and force wife to drink Tide detergent," 23 Feb. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of detergent

Adjective

1616, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1676, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about detergent

Statistics for detergent

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for detergent

The first known use of detergent was in 1616

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for detergent

detergent

noun

English Language Learners Definition of detergent

: a powder or liquid that is used to clean clothes, dishes, etc. : a chemical substance that is like soap

detergent

noun
de·​ter·​gent | \ di-ˈtər-jənt How to pronounce detergent (audio) \

Kids Definition of detergent

: a substance that cleans

detergent

adjective
de·​ter·​gent | \ di-ˈtər-jənt How to pronounce detergent (audio) \

Medical Definition of detergent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having a cleansing action

detergent

noun

Medical Definition of detergent (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on detergent

What made you want to look up detergent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a strong desire or propensity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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