dis·​til·​la·​tion | \ ˌdi-stə-ˈlā-shən \

Definition of distillation

1a : the process of purifying a liquid by successive evaporation and condensation
b : a process like distillation gradual distillation of the truth also : an instance of such distilling
2 : something distilled : distillate sense 2

Examples of distillation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Naphthalene is obtained from coal tar or petroleum distillation and is used in the manufacture of plastics and is found in mothballs, according to the website PubChem. Justin Jouvenal, Washington Post, "Police investigate whether father gave children poisoned doughnuts to take to his estranged wife," 10 May 2018 From the distillation of the component liquors to the flaming of an orange peel over a final drink, every step involves biology, chemistry, and physics (and sometimes fire). Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Most Underappreciated Holiday Booze Comes from Brazil," 9 Dec. 2018 Or pay a visit to his Faena hotel nearby, a red-curtain fantasy of life that is a distillation of pure joy, with exquisite details. Alejandro Jodorowsky, ELLE Decor, "A Conversation Between Hotelier Alan Faena and Filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky," 14 Nov. 2018 As distillations of more elaborate discussions, the essays serve as an introduction to his work and an encouragement to explore further. Hugh Raffles, WSJ, "‘A Naturalist at Large’ Review: The Habit of Taking a Closer Look," 30 Aug. 2018 The fermented mash is pumped into a pot still for a first round of distillation, called stripping. Francine Maroukian, Popular Mechanics, "How They Make Rye Whiskey the Right Way," 23 Mar. 2016 In the series’ best episodes, Fielder becomes a sort of ur-American, a pure distillation of our inability to reflect. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Sacha Baron Cohen’s new show arrives with a swirl of outrage-driven hype. Don’t believe it.," 15 July 2018 The neutral spirit is distilled from grain or fruit, then botanicals are either infused into the spirit or added during a second distillation. Jonah Flicker, USA TODAY, "Celebrate World Gin Day in the USA," 8 June 2018 Shinnecock transformed one of this generation’s best golfers into a frustrated putt-putt participant, his putt-jog-whack the perfect distillation of the insanity that had only just begun when he was penalized two strokes for his antics. Joan Niesen, SI.com, "USGA's Unplayable Course at Shinnecock 'Totally Gone' in Third Round of U.S. Open," 16 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'distillation.' 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 distillation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Last Updated

21 Jan 2019

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The first known use of distillation was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for distillation


dis·​til·​la·​tion | \ ˌdi-stə-ˈlā-shən \

Kids Definition of distillation

: the process of heating a liquid until it gives off a gas and then cooling the gas until it becomes liquid


dis·​til·​la·​tion | \ ˌdis-tə-ˈlā-shən \

Medical Definition of distillation

1 : a process that consists of driving gas or vapor from liquids or solids by heating and condensing to liquid products and that is used especially for purification, fractionation, or the formation of new substances
2 : something distilled

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More from Merriam-Webster on distillation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with distillation

Spanish Central: Translation of distillation

Nglish: Translation of distillation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about distillation

Comments on distillation

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


to gather or build up little by little

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