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

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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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

For the first time ever, potent synthetic opioids were linked to more overdose deaths than prescription painkillers. Ryan Faircloth, Twin Cities, "Minnesota opioid deaths decreased in 2018. Has state turned the corner in drug battle?," 9 July 2019 In Illinois, the greatest increase in opioid deaths was seen in cases involving synthetic opioids, mainly fentanyl (which Gruber’s dose was laced with) -- resulting in a rise from 127 deaths in 2014 to 1,187 deaths in 2017. Jessi Roti, chicagotribune.com, "Local musician Trey Gruber’s songs find new life after his death; preserved through ‘Herculean’ effort by loved ones," 27 June 2019 The death rate remains swollen by powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl, and Mr. Anderson warned a new, deadly analog could arrive anytime. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Overdose Deaths Likely to Fall for First Time Since 1990," 26 June 2019 Many had expected violence to taper off in Guerrero as synthetic opioids like fentanyl knocked the bottom out of the opium market that had fed organized crime groups in the state. Washington Post, "Toxic mix of gangs, vigilantes fuels rising Mexican violence," 22 June 2019 Unable to easily get OxyContin, pill addicts shifted to heroin and potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Del Quentin Wilber, latimes.com, "12 million pills and 700 deaths: How a few pill mills helped fan the U.S. opioid inferno," 14 June 2019 Opioids, including synthetic opioids like fentanyl, were involved in the majority of drug overdose deaths in 2017, the new report shows. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "More Millennials Are Dying 'Deaths of Despair,' as Overdose and Suicide Rates Climb," 13 June 2019 By contrast, deaths due to heroin started climbing dramatically at about the same time, and that was followed by an even more rapid rise in deaths due to synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which began in 2015. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Medical marijuana vs. opioid abuse: New study questions the connection," 13 June 2019 Dark web markets are viewed as one of the crucial sources of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. New York Times, "Dark Web Drug Sellers Dodge Police Crackdowns," 11 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Instead, opt for hiking socks made from materials like wool or synthetics made to wick away moisture and ease friction. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "14 Essential Hiking Safety Tips You Should Always Follow," 10 May 2019 The Bug Squad recommends using a synthetic pyrethroid spray to kill these pests in your home. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Beware of ‘Kissing Bugs’ This Season—They Can Potentially Cause a Deadly Illness," 25 Apr. 2019 Modern sleeping bags come with natural down insulation or a synthetic option. Kraig Becker, Popular Mechanics, "How to Set Up Camp," 2 Apr. 2019 Rat poison has been found in synthetics around Milwaukee. Jennifer Walter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Health Department warning: Severe bleeding linked to synthetic cannabis, cases rising," 25 June 2018 The man who sold the synthetic fentanyl over the Internet that led to a deadly overdose will spend the rest of his life in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. David Harris, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Man who sold fentanyl that led to overdose sent to prison for life," 27 Apr. 2018 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

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.

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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

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Statistics for synthetic

Last Updated

20 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for synthetic

The first known use of synthetic was in 1697

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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

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