surfactant

noun
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)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from surfactant

surfactant adjective

Examples of surfactant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That's because the soap acts as a surface-active agent, or surfactant, and leaves behind a thin film that helps prevents fog. Juliana Labianca, Good Housekeeping, "How to Avoid Foggy Glasses When Wearing a Face Mask, According to an Ophthalmologist," 12 Jan. 2021 This is a big subject, but for our purposes, a surfactant is added to a personal care product, such as shampoo, to clean the hair and to make bubbles. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Staples to have on hand in the pantry," 19 Nov. 2020 Soap is a surfactant with a low surface tension, while water is a liquid with quite a high surface tension. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Explaining foam in the absence of soap: It’s a tension gradient," 10 Nov. 2020 My formula is 1 gallon of 8% to 10% (100 grain) white vinegar, 1 ounce of orange oil (D-limonene), and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap or other surfactant. Howard Garrett, Dallas News, "Corn gluten meal is the pre-emergent herbicide you want this fall," 8 Sep. 2020 Lauramidopropyl betaine, a surfactant that behaves like soap, was the best option. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "With bees in short supply, soap bubbles could assist with pollination, study finds," 17 June 2020 That's because the soap acts as a surface active agent, or surfactant, and leaves behind a thin film that helps prevents fog. Juliana Labianca, Good Housekeeping, "How to Avoid Foggy Glasses When Wearing a Face Mask, According to an Ophthalmologist," 28 Apr. 2020 This ‘surfactant effect’ is widely utilized to prevent misting of surfaces in many everyday situations. Lisa Boone, Los Angeles Times, "The do’s and don’ts of wearing a face mask correctly (and comfortably)," 16 Apr. 2020 That surfactant strengthens the liquid film walls of the bubbles to keep them from collapsing. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Two new papers explore the complicated physics behind bubbles and foams," 19 June 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of surfactant

1950, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for surfactant

surface-active + -ant

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about surfactant

Time Traveler for surfactant

Time Traveler

The first known use of surfactant was in 1950

See more words from the same year

Statistics for surfactant

Last Updated

26 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Surfactant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/surfactant. Accessed 28 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for surfactant

surfactant

noun
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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about surfactant

Comments on surfactant

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!