lye

noun
\ ˈlī How to pronounce lye (audio) \

Definition of lye

1 : a strong alkaline liquor rich in potassium carbonate leached from wood ashes and used especially in making soap and for washing broadly : a strong alkaline solution (as of sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide)
2 : a solid caustic (such as sodium hydroxide)

Examples of lye in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This hack resulted in cyberattackers increasing lye in the water from 100 to more than 11,000 parts per million. Richard Tracy, Forbes, 10 May 2021 But Montgomery and other experts say a more sophisticated hacker than the one in Oldsmar, who attempted to boost the quantity of lye in the drinking water to dangerous levels, could have wreaked havoc. Peter Elkind, ProPublica, 17 Mar. 2021 When the right amount of fat is blended with lye and water, then simmered and stirred until slushy, and this slurry can be set aside for hardening and aging to create an effective homemade soap. Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, 20 Jan. 2021 Granny’s lard and lye soap could wash your clothes, hands, hair and anything else, and the recipe hasn’t changed much in a thousand years. Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, 20 Jan. 2021 Hominy is made from whole corn kernels, soaked in a lye or lime solution to soften the tough outer hulls. Meredith Deeds Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, 13 Jan. 2021 The first appearance of soap as people might recognize it today dates to the seventh century A.D., when Arabic chemists combined vegetable and aromatic oils with sodium lye, according to Haaretz. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Aug. 2020 In 2007, her estranged husband attacked her with a bottle of lye, severely burning 85% of her body and disfiguring her face. Ganesh Setty, CNN, 10 Aug. 2020 In 2007, her estranged husband broke into her Vermont home and doused her in industrial-strength lye, burning 80% of her body. Fox News, 8 Aug. 2020

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lye

Middle English, from Old English lēag; akin to Old High German louga lye, Latin lavare, lavere to wash, Greek louein

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Time Traveler for lye

Time Traveler

The first known use of lye was before the 12th century

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Statistics for lye

Last Updated

20 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lye.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lye. Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for lye

lye

noun

English Language Learners Definition of lye

: a strong chemical that is used especially in making soap

lye

noun
\ ˈlī How to pronounce lye (audio) \

Kids Definition of lye

: a dangerous compound that is used in cleaning and in making soap

lye

noun
\ ˈlī How to pronounce lye (audio) \

Medical Definition of lye

1 : a strong alkaline liquor rich in potassium carbonate leached from wood ashes and used especially in making soap and washing broadly : a strong alkaline solution (as of sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide)
2 : a solid caustic (as sodium hydroxide)

More from Merriam-Webster on lye

Nglish: Translation of lye for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lye for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about lye

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