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

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 Gene synthesis 1970: Biochemistry professor Har Gobind Khorana becomes the first person to chemically synthesize a gene. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "UW scientific advances include vitamins, growing human embryonic stem cells in lab," 12 July 2018 As with the chemical synthesis of natural substances, this is how synthesizers create sounds that imitate different instruments. Eugenia Cheng, WSJ, "What Makes One Voice Shrill, Another Sweet?," 11 Apr. 2018 Church says the new approach is not quite ready to dethrone conventional DNA synthesis. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "New technique could help scientists create a gene in just 1 day," 18 June 2018 Later architecture illustrates first the British period and then the search for a synthesis between the Indian and the Western styles. Antonia Neubauer, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to Asia," 5 Oct. 2016 There’s an ongoing waltz in the poem between binaries of camaraderie and isolation, synthesis and division, creation and destruction, harmony and chaos. Tyler Malone,, "The road taken by Robert Frost through New England," 29 June 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

18 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for synthesis

The first known use of synthesis was in 1589

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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

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


one that holds something together

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