syn·​thet·​ic | \ sin-ˈthe-tik How to pronounce synthetic (audio) \

Definition of synthetic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : relating to or involving synthesis : not analytic the synthetic aspects of a philosophy
2 : attributing to a subject something determined by observation rather than analysis of the nature of the subject and not resulting in self-contradiction if negated — compare analytic
3 : characterized by frequent and systematic use of inflected forms to express grammatical relationships synthetic languages
4a(1) : of, relating to, or produced by chemical or biochemical synthesis especially : produced artificially synthetic drugs synthetic silk
(2) : of or relating to a synfuel
b : devised, arranged, or fabricated for special situations to imitate or replace usual realities



Definition of synthetic (Entry 2 of 2)

: something resulting from synthesis rather than occurring naturally especially : a product (such as a drug or plastic) of chemical synthesis

Other Words from synthetic


synthetically \ sin-​ˈthe-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce synthetic (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for synthetic

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of synthetic in a Sentence

Adjective that organic farm doesn't use any pesticides or synthetic fertilizers boots of waterproof synthetic leather Noun The drug is a synthetic.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in the 12-month period ending in October 2021, more than 105,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, with 66% of those deaths related to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, 15 Sep. 2022 One is a class of synthetic opioids, called nitazenes, that can be up to 10 times stronger than fentanyl, experts say. Erika Edwards, NBC News, 15 Sep. 2022 Many are made with essential oils, though synthetic fragrances are just as effective. Jamie Kim, Good Housekeeping, 13 Sep. 2022 The paper is typically soaked with K2, a synthetic cannabinoid, or Suboxone, a treatment for opioid addiction that can be addictive in its own right. Danny Robbins, ajc, 11 Aug. 2022 All the product is made in small batches without toxins, synthetic fragrances, or chemicals. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 18 July 2022 To avoid synthetic fragrances that might cause irritation, orange peel and apricot kernels oil double as the products' citrus-y fragrance. Taylore Glynn, Allure, 29 June 2022 This product is free of aluminum, parabens, talc, synthetic fragrances and phthalates, all of which can be harmful to your body. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 10 June 2022 Each exfoliating scrub is naturally scented with essential oils — which means no synthetic fragrances. Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 3 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Tyson is investing heavily in the aforementioned high tech synthetic, lab made meat alternative to traditional animal protein production. Kenneth Rapoza, Forbes, 1 Aug. 2022 Plus, the synthetic and polyester webbing upper is designed to dry quickly. Emma Seymour, Good Housekeeping, 19 July 2022 And there’s no downside really to using a synthetic? Kira Bindrim, Quartz, 23 May 2022 And it’s one of the first perfumes that really leaned in hard on a synthetic called an aldehyde. Kira Bindrim, Quartz, 23 May 2022 Ghesquière loves these time-traveling mishmashes, but there was a spectacular new tension between the organic and the synthetic here. Rachel Tashjian, Harper's BAZAAR, 13 May 2022 Brown polarized lenses, crafted from a proprietary synthetic, deliver optics as sharp as ground glass: colors throb, and details jump out. Mike Steere, Outside Online, 14 May 2015 With backgrounds in the medical-device and automotive industries, respectively, the men knew that neither petroleum nor limestone were necessary to make the rubber for a wetsuit, if one used natural rubber instead of a synthetic. Gabriela Aoun, Outside Online, 23 July 2021 Most of the forces of modern life tend toward the synthetic, the presentational—virtual feelings and enactments. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, 3 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'synthetic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of synthetic


1697, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1916, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for synthetic


Greek synthetikos of composition, component, from syntithenai to put together

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Time Traveler for synthetic

Time Traveler

The first known use of synthetic was in 1697

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Dictionary Entries Near synthetic



synthetic ammonia process

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Statistics for synthetic

Last Updated

18 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Synthetic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for synthetic


syn·​thet·​ic | \ sin-ˈthe-tik How to pronounce synthetic (audio) \

Kids Definition of synthetic

: produced artificially especially by chemical means : produced by human beings synthetic diamonds


syn·​thet·​ic | \ sin-ˈthet-ik How to pronounce synthetic (audio) \

Medical Definition of synthetic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of, relating to, or produced by chemical or biochemical synthesis especially : produced artificially synthetic drugs synthetic dyes

Other Words from synthetic

synthetically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce synthetic (audio) \ adverb



Medical Definition of synthetic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a product (as a drug) of chemical synthesis

More from Merriam-Webster on synthetic

Nglish: Translation of synthetic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of synthetic for Arabic Speakers


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