sur·​fac·​tant | \ (ˌ)sər-ˈfak-tənt How to pronounce surfactant (audio) , ˈsər-ˌfak- \

Definition of surfactant

: a surface-active substance (such as a detergent)

Other Words from surfactant

surfactant adjective

Examples of surfactant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The luxurious, foamy formula lathers up like a dream, the texture owed to a natural, mild surfactant derived from creamy coconut. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 May 2022 The startup’s platform uses machine learning to monitor and adapt to how raw materials from different suppliers affect product quality, from varying impurities in steel to the level of viscosity in a surfactant, a key ingredient in shampoo. Nick Carey, The Christian Science Monitor, 3 May 2022 Your average clarifying shampoo will contain two key ingredients: a chelating agent and a surfactant, or cleaning agent. Sara Coughlin, SELF, 11 Apr. 2022 Honeydew naturally produces a type of oily surfactant, so a perfectly ripe honeydew should feel a little bit sticky. USA Today, 6 Apr. 2022 To spread the mixture out, Zoll gently taps it with the tip of a pipette dipped in a surfactant—dish soap in this case. Joanna Thompson, Scientific American, 23 Mar. 2022 Adding some kind of surfactant keeps surface tension from collapsing bubbles by strengthening the thin liquid film walls that separate them. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 20 Jan. 2022 In addition to surfactant, Mantha cited two other factors that have increased survival of very premature babies: improvements in ventilation for newborns; and steroids that promote fetal lung development. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 Aug. 2021 Development of artificial surfactant in the mid- to late 1980s has had a profound effect on infant mortality in general and respiratory distress in specific. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 Aug. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'surfactant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of surfactant

1950, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for surfactant

surface-active + -ant

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Time Traveler for surfactant

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The first known use of surfactant was in 1950

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Dictionary Entries Near surfactant

surfacing machine



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Statistics for surfactant

Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Surfactant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for surfactant


sur·​fac·​tant | \ (ˌ)sər-ˈfak-tənt, ˈsər-ˌ How to pronounce surfactant (audio) \

Medical Definition of surfactant

: a surface-active substance specifically : a surface-active lipoprotein mixture which coats the alveoli and which prevents collapse of the lungs by reducing the surface tension of pulmonary fluids

Other Words from surfactant

surfactant adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on surfactant Encyclopedia article about surfactant


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