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

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 The now widely used statins, for example, emerged from a clearer understanding of the biochemical steps of cholesterol synthesis and how cells handle cholesterol and other lipids. Mark C. Fishman, STAT, "The miracle of medicines," 7 May 2018 The study, which includes 300 footnotes and a 30-page appendix, consists of a synthesis of existing public reports examining Chinese economic policies. Vivian Salama, WSJ, "New White House Report, Authored by Trade Hawk, Blasts Chinese ‘Economic Aggression’," 19 June 2018 Blackmond also uses her understanding of complex chemical reactions to make chemical synthesis more efficient. Bradley J. Fikes,, "San Diego science reaches top tier in new global survey," 7 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

23 Aug 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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