osmosis

noun
os·​mo·​sis | \ äz-ˈmō-səs How to pronounce osmosis (audio) , äs-\

Definition of osmosis

1 : movement of a solvent (such as water) through a semipermeable membrane (as of a living cell) into a solution of higher solute concentration that tends to equalize the concentrations of solute on the two sides of the membrane
2 : a process of absorption or diffusion (see diffusion sense 3a) suggestive of the flow of osmotic action especially : a usually effortless often unconscious assimilation (see assimilation sense 4) learned a number of languages by osmosis — Roger Kimball

Examples of osmosis in a Sentence

She seems to learn foreign languages by osmosis.

Recent Examples on the Web

Just being inside Evergreen Organics' lush cafe feels like getting healthier through osmosis. Jenna Scatena, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Doha Is Much More Than a Stopover Destination," 4 June 2019 As a complete goofball who is easily distracted, I’m drawn to Moore’s composure and hope to soak it up a little bit through YouTube osmosis. Hannah Chenoweth, SELF, "The 9 Best YouTube Yoga Channels I Discovered While Practicing Yoga at Home for 6 Years," 5 May 2019 In a 2009 University of California, Berkeley, study of older adults, those who used a combo reverse-osmosis/UV filter suffered about 12% fewer gastrointestinal illnesses than participants who drank regular unfiltered water. Rachael Moeller Gorman, Good Housekeeping, "Is Your Tap Water Safe?," 15 Aug. 2012 As even Radenovic will acknowledge, the team wouldn't be the first to see huge promise in osmosis power generation and then downsize their expectations under the cold, crushing fist of reality. William Herkewitz, Popular Mechanics, "Marvelous Mini Generator Draws Energy From Saltwater," 13 July 2016 Radenovic's team concluded that a three by three-foot square of the stuff, dotted with these tiny pores on only 30 percent of the material, could produce a megawatt of power through the osmosis of fresh and very salty water. William Herkewitz, Popular Mechanics, "Marvelous Mini Generator Draws Energy From Saltwater," 13 July 2016 The generator siphons energy from the process of osmosis—when the salts in salty water spread out evenly into freshwater though a membrane. William Herkewitz, Popular Mechanics, "Marvelous Mini Generator Draws Energy From Saltwater," 13 July 2016 Dow, for instance, is making reverse-osmosis membranes for water desalination. The Economist, "Breaking the curseWhy Gulf economies struggle to wean themselves off oil," 21 June 2018 Slattery, the show’s restaurant consultant, currently works at wine bar Terroir in TriBeca and taught FitzGerald the art of wine conversation through osmosis. Alyse Whitney, Bon Appetit, "How ‘Sweetbitter’ Compares to Real Fine-Dining Restaurant Training," 10 May 2018

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

1863, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for osmosis

New Latin, short for endosmosis

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about osmosis

Statistics for osmosis

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for osmosis

The first known use of osmosis was in 1863

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for osmosis

osmosis

noun

English Language Learners Definition of osmosis

biology : the process that causes a liquid (especially water) to pass through the wall of a living cell
: an ability to learn and understand things gradually without much effort

osmosis

noun
os·​mo·​sis | \ äs-ˈmō-səs How to pronounce osmosis (audio) , äz-\

Kids Definition of osmosis

: a passing of material and especially water through a membrane (as of a living cell) that will not allow all kinds of molecules to pass

osmosis

noun
os·​mo·​sis | \ äz-ˈmō-səs How to pronounce osmosis (audio) , äs- How to pronounce osmosis (audio) \
plural osmoses\ -​ˌsēz How to pronounce osmoses (audio) \

Medical Definition of osmosis

: movement of a solvent through a semipermeable membrane (as of a living cell) into a solution of higher solute concentration that tends to equalize the concentrations of solute on the two sides of the membrane

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on osmosis

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with osmosis

Spanish Central: Translation of osmosis

Nglish: Translation of osmosis for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about osmosis

Comments on osmosis

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
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!