syn·​the·​sis | \ˈsin(t)-thə-səs \
plural syntheses\ˈsin(t)-​thə-​ˌsēz \

Definition of synthesis 

1a : the composition or combination of parts or elements so as to form a whole

b : the production of a substance by the union of chemical elements, groups, or simpler compounds or by the degradation of a complex compound

c : the combining of often diverse conceptions into a coherent whole also : the complex so formed

2a : deductive reasoning

b : the dialectic combination of thesis and antithesis into a higher stage of truth

3 : the frequent and systematic use of inflected forms as a characteristic device of a language

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Other Words from synthesis

synthesist \ˈsin(t)-​thə-​sist \ noun

Examples of synthesis in a Sentence

a philosophy that is a kind of synthesis of several schools of Western and Eastern thought

Recent Examples on the Web

Currently, Alexa uses concatenative speech synthesis, a method that’s been around for decades. James Vincent, The Verge, "Alexa will soon be able to read the news just like a professional," 20 Nov. 2018 Sometimes the synthesis is a long time coming—as has been the case with race in America. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "Trump’s Chaos Theory," 15 Nov. 2018 The house at the bottom of a valley in the Alpine village of Rossa, Switzerland (population 150), is a whimsical synthesis of contradictions. Shonquis Moreno, Curbed, "‘If you take out the art, the building itself can’t stand’," 6 Aug. 2018 One popular synthesis has been that the answer was both: The weak economic recovery catalyzed the racial resentment that drove Trump’s voters. Ezra Klein, Vox, "How identity politics elected Donald Trump," 5 Nov. 2018 In this case, the authors do identify one: two distinct bursts of neutrinos, one from the synthesis of new elements as the core collapses and a second from the phase transition to quark matter. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Atoms may come apart as the Universe’s biggest stars explode," 24 Oct. 2018 But the Roman scholar’s encyclopedic work still stands as the most impressive synthesis of scientific knowledge in the ancient era, as scientists have once again learned. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Scientists admit Pliny the Elder was right about orcas and whales.," 11 July 2018 That particular synthesis is nothing new for Jia Zhangke, the revered Chinese writer-director whose work brings the chaos of life in his rapidly evolving country into hyper-crisp digital focus. Justin Chang,, "Justin Chang's Cannes diary 2018: Passion and politics collide in 'Ash Is Purest White,' 'Cold War'," 13 May 2018 Genetically engineered bacteria had already been harnessed to replace chemical synthesis of indigo; but this new work has also managed to avoid using the hazardous reducing agents needed to render the dye active. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "A greener shade of blue," 11 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'synthesis.' 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 synthesis

1589, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for synthesis

Greek, from syntithenai to put together, from syn- + tithenai to put, place — more at do

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Statistics for synthesis

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for synthesis

The first known use of synthesis was in 1589

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More Definitions for synthesis



English Language Learners Definition of synthesis

: something that is made by combining different things (such as ideas, styles, etc.)

: the production of a substance by combining simpler substances through a chemical process

: the production of sounds or speech by using electronic equipment


syn·​the·​sis | \ˈsin(t)-thə-səs \
plural syntheses\-​ˌsēz \

Medical Definition of synthesis 

1 : the composition or combination of parts or elements so as to form a whole

2 : the production of a substance by the union of chemical elements, groups, or simpler compounds or by the degradation of a complex compound protein synthesis

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Comments on synthesis

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