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

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 \ 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

The cause of death, on Nov. 30, was marked by the medical examiner's office as an overdose of fentanyl, the potent synthetic additive that dealers mix with heroin. Michael Wilson, Anchorage Daily News, "An addict dies in a New York school restroom. He was a teacher.," 27 Jan. 2018 Whether combining with canvas, textile or leathers, the consistently tacky combination of natural and synthetic gum rubber gives Vans skate shoes a signature sole. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Watch How Vans Makes Its Secret Skate Shoe Rubber," 8 Mar. 2016 The return to synthetic, technical materials, has swept menswear by storm, merging ideas from streetwear and activewear into a new, futuristic look. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "The Fall 2019 Men’s Trend Report," 25 Jan. 2019 New synthetic building materials burn hotter and with higher toxicity than wood and brick. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "The Tank That's Tougher Than Wildfire," 13 Nov. 2018 These are synthetic chemicals used in everything from stain-resistant fabrics to nonstick pans. Umair Irfan, Vox, "The EPA’s increasing hostility toward the press, explained," 25 May 2018 Unlike nuclear weapons, the world has an opportunity to take action before synthetic biology becomes commonplace. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Military Wants to Create Synthetic Life Forms to Track Enemies," 4 Dec. 2018 The MIT Media Lab professor comfortably straddles the worlds of architecture, art, interaction design, and synthetic biology. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Watch a swarm of robots build a fiber structure," 12 Oct. 2018 Calculated Healing It’s still early, but in the last few years researchers have routinely endowed cells with rudimentary computing capabilities, says James Collins, another MIT bioengineer and one of the pioneers of synthetic biology. Eric Smalley, Discover Magazine, "Cellular Cyborgs: How Programmable DNA Strands Might Control Healing," 25 Sep. 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.

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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

16 Feb 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 \

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

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