Definition of surfactant
: a surface-active substance (such as a detergent)
Recent Examples of surfactant from the Web
Water sucks at getting grease off, so Tide uses compounds called surfactants that mix well with both.
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.
Origin and Etymology of surfactant
surface-active + -ant
First Known Use: 1950See Words from the same year
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
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up surfactant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).