osmosis

noun
os·​mo·​sis | \ äz-ˈmō-səs, 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

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 After city testing found high lead levels in the tap water in her Chicago home, Jenny Abrahamian decided to install a whole-house water filtration system and an additional reverse-osmosis filter for her kitchen sink. Michael Hawthorne, chicagotribune.com, "Brain-damaging lead found in tap water in hundreds of homes tested across Chicago, results show," 12 Apr. 2018 Flushed with success, Dr Zhang is now turning his attention to the reverse-osmosis membranes. The Economist, "A membrane that can remove salts from water more efficiently," 3 May 2018 People learn to be racists, Jacobs-Jenkins argues, by some sort of osmosis. Andrea Simakis, cleveland.com, "Dobama Theatre's 'Appropriate' is Long Day's Journey Into White (review)," 26 Apr. 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.

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First Known Use of osmosis

1863, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for osmosis

New Latin, short for endosmosis

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Statistics for osmosis

Last Updated

9 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for osmosis

The first known use of osmosis was in 1863

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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, 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, äs- \
plural osmoses\ -​ˌsēz \

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

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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

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