synthetic

adjective
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

synthetic

noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from synthetic

Adjective

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for synthetic

Synonyms: Adjective

artificial, man-made, nonnatural

Antonyms: Adjective

natural

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Rasser believes developing synthetic substitutes would, if possible, be the best way to go. Klint Finley, WIRED, "Are Rare Earths the Next Pawn in the US-China Trade War?," 17 June 2019 Fentanyl — the synthetic drug 50 times more potent than heroin — continues to fuel the death toll. Erin Cox, Washington Post, "For the first time in 10 years, fatal opioid overdoses decline in Maryland," 11 June 2019 Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid drug that's often implicated in drug overdose deaths. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Fentanyl Now Officially Causes the Most Drug Overdose Deaths in the U.S.," 20 Dec. 2018 The problem could get even worse as new synthetic drugs hit the market. NBC News, "Opioid overdose deaths may be undercounted by 70,000," 27 June 2018 Ingredients in the synthetic drug keeps blood from clotting, said Angie Hagy, director of Disease Control and Environmental Health for the city. Jennifer Walter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Health Department warning: Severe bleeding linked to synthetic cannabis, cases rising," 25 June 2018 One bill calls for changes to how the government schedules drugs to include new, synthetic drugs. Katie Zezima, chicagotribune.com, "U.S. House passes bipartisan package to fight opioid crisis," 23 June 2018 Opioids, including prescription opioids, heroin and synthetic drugs such as fentanyl, killed more than 42,000 people in the U.S. in 2016, more than any year on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Michelle Hunter, NOLA.com, "Metairie Gulf Coast Bank & Trust robbed Monday morning," 19 Mar. 2018 In 2018 though, the beloved host revealed to Entertainment Tonight that her then 14-year-old had experimented with the K2 drug (synthetic cannabinoids). Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "A Timeline of Wendy Williams and Her Soon-to-Be Ex-Husband Kevin Hunter's Relationship," 11 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Now the heroin supply is tainted with the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Georgea Kovanis, Detroit Free Press, "Opioid prescriptions in Michigan are declining, but a crisis still rages," 19 June 2019 The number of deaths blamed on the synthetic opioid more than doubled in three years, reaching 102 deaths in 2018. Carina Julig, The Denver Post, "Colorado overdose deaths fall for first time since 2012," 10 June 2019 Such an amount of the synthetic opioid would be 20 times higher than what would be appropriate for a patient, depending on their size and circumstance, medical experts say. NBC News, "Case against Ohio doctor charged with killing 25 patients may hinge on former colleagues," 6 June 2019 Lawyers say up to 100 micrograms of the synthetic opioid would be normal for a patient, depending on their size and the circumstances. NBC News, "Ohio doctor charged with 25 counts of murder, accused of prescribing excessive doses of painkillers," 5 June 2019 Chiodo said the early belief is the drug the men apparently consumed could have been cut with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that people have been adding to heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. Mara H. Gottfried, Twin Cities, "South St. Paul drug overdose scene was ‘overwhelming’," 3 June 2019 In most instances, this means camp is about the theatrical, the synthetic, and the bizarre—all of which are excellent ideas to bring into your accessories this spring. Vogue, "Some Notes on Spring’s Campiest Accessories," 10 Apr. 2019 Fabric settings: synthetic, silk, wool, cotton, linen Weight: 2.2 lbs. Sarah Bogdan, Good Housekeeping, "5 Best Cordless Irons to Buy in 2019, According to Cleaning Experts," 15 Feb. 2019 Even its flavoring—peppermint in this case—is derived from natural oils, not synthetics. Adam Hurly, GQ, "The Best Toothpaste for Removing Stains, Fixing Your Breath, and Not Getting Gingivitis," 27 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of synthetic

Adjective

1697, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1916, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for synthetic

Adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about synthetic

Statistics for synthetic

Last Updated

22 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for synthetic

The first known use of synthetic was in 1697

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for synthetic

synthetic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of synthetic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: made by combining different substances : not natural

synthetic

noun

English Language Learners Definition of synthetic (Entry 2 of 2)

: something made by combining different artificial substances

synthetic

adjective
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

synthetic

adjective
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 synthetically (audio) \ adverb

synthetic

noun

Medical Definition of synthetic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a product (as a drug) of chemical synthesis

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on synthetic

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

WORD OF THE DAY

showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!