synthetic

adjective
syn·​thet·​ic | \sin-ˈthe-tik \

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

c : factitious, bogus

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 \ 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

Research shows that people do equally well on synthetic and natural therapies (Southern Medical Journal, June 2018). Teresa Graedon, The Seattle Times, "CBD oil keeps long-distance runner going," 25 Oct. 2018 Actual and synthetic Britain track each other closely from 1995 to mid-2016, then diverge: Actual British output is now 2.1% below this counterfactual. Greg Ip, WSJ, "Brexit Provides Early Proof of Deglobalization’s Costs," 17 Oct. 2018 What's more: Everything is 100 percent cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, and synthetic fragrance-free. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Introducing Fourth Ray Beauty, the New Skin-Care Brand From ColourPop's Parent Company," 20 Aug. 2018 The clothes were pretreated with permethrin, a synthetic form of an insect-thwarting compound from the chrysanthemum flower. Amy Norton, chicagotribune.com, "To repel ticks, try insecticide-treated clothes this summer," 30 May 2018 Permethrin is a synthetic form of an insecticidal compound that comes from chrysanthemums. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Tick-repelling clothes might actually stop the little blood-suckers, CDC says | The Kansas City Star," 24 May 2018 Retinyl Palmitate is a synthetic form of vitamin A that may be toxic to pregnant women. Julie Gerstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Secret Lipstick Ingredients RevealedYour Perfect Shade Is... 'Retinyl Palmitate Red'?," 8 Feb. 2010 Get cozy around the campfire with this outdoors-chic, alpaca-synthetic-blend blanket that’s durable and machine-washable. Sara Kennedy, The Seattle Times, "7 fun additions for your camping kit," 2 July 2018 Lately, there’s been an upsurge of interest and experimentation around synthetic fuels. David Roberts, Vox, "Sucking carbon out of the air won’t solve climate change," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The leading cause of overdose deaths was non-methadone synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyls that have increasingly supplanted heroin in the illicit market. German Lopez, Vox, "Drug overdose deaths were so bad in 2017, they reduced overall life expectancy," 29 Nov. 2018 Dsuvia contains sufentanil, which is five to 10 times stronger than fentanyl, a synthetic opioid linked to thousands of overdose deaths in North America. Maria Armental, WSJ, "Noting Military Potential, FDA Approves Powerful Painkiller Dsuvia," 2 Nov. 2018 There are more than 100 different varieties — some synthetic, others from natural sources, like coconut or palm oil. Allure, "The Skin-Care Glossary: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything You Need to Know," 17 Aug. 2018 That's because at the time, there were only two options for falsies: human hair, which gave a natural look (a little too much so for Ghalichi) or synthetic, which is the kind most people reserve for Halloween. Deanna Pai, Glamour, "How Every Celebrity in Hollywood Started Wearing Lilly Lashes," 31 July 2018 Ingredients in the synthetic drug keep blood from clotting and rat poison has been found recently in synthetics around Milwaukee, officials have said. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'This is not marijuana': Fake weed, known as spice or K2, possible cause in 2 Milwaukee County deaths," 3 July 2018 Generally, surgeons use one of two types, a synthetic, or mechanical, device or a biologic one made from cow or pig tissue chemically treated to prevent rejection. — Marlene Cimons, Washington Post, "Heart valve treatment has come a long way since surgeons used only their hands," 10 June 2018 Creative thinkers are hard at work on futuristic fancies like healthier, synthetic — and hangover-free — booze, or electric clothes that vary temperature to fit changing weather and your needs, or sensors to catch potential tooth cavities. Ken Fisher, USA TODAY, "How your 401(k) stocks harness the power of invention," 11 Mar. 2018 The 47-year-old Toronto resident has overdosed five times in the past four years after injecting the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Vipal Monga, WSJ, "Ontario Promotes Free Use of Opioid Antidote," 24 June 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

23 Nov 2018

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 \

Kids Definition of synthetic

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

synthetic

adjective
syn·​thet·​ic | \sin-ˈthet-ik \

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 \ 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

living or existing for a long time

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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!