sa·​pon·​i·​fy | \ sə-ˈpä-nə-ˌfī How to pronounce saponify (audio) \
saponified; saponifying

Definition of saponify

transitive verb

: to convert (something, such as fat) into soap specifically : to hydrolyze (a fat) with alkali to form a soap and glycerol

Other Words from saponify

saponifiable \ sə-​ˈpä-​nə-​ˌfī-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce saponifiable (audio) \ adjective
saponifier \ sə-​ˈpä-​nə-​ˌfī(-​ə)r How to pronounce saponifier (audio) \ noun

First Known Use of saponify

1821, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for saponify

French saponifier, from Latin sapon-, sapo

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The first known use of saponify was in 1821

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Cite this Entry

“Saponify.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for saponify


sa·​pon·​i·​fy | \ sə-ˈpän-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce saponify (audio) \
saponified; saponifying

Medical Definition of saponify

transitive verb

: to convert (as a fat or fatty acid) into soap : subject to saponification

intransitive verb

: to undergo saponification

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