Word of the Day : November 27, 2017

anneal

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verb uh-NEEL

Definition

1 a : to heat and then cool (a material, such as steel or glass) usually for softening and making less brittle; also : to cool slowly usually in a furnace

b : to heat and then cool (double-stranded nucleic acid) in order to separate strands and induce combination at lower temperature with complementary strands

2 : strengthentoughen

3 : to be capable of combining with complementary nucleic acid by a process of heating and cooling

Did You Know?

If you were looking for a saying to apply to the word anneal, it might be "everything old is new again." The word was originally associated with one of the oldest technologies of humankind: fire. It derives from the Old English word onǣlan, which was formed from the Old English root āl, meaning "fire." In its earliest known uses, anneal meant simply "to set on fire." That sense has become obsolete, however, and nowadays anneal is associated with metalworking and glasswork as well as a much more recent technological development. As addressed in sense 3 of the definition, it has come to be used in the context of DNA research, in reference to the heating and cooling of double-stranded nucleic acid.


Examples

"Before and after the Eagles organized team activities last spring, Nelson Agholor retreated to his hometown for a series of training sessions with an old friend and mentor that would anneal his mind as much as his body." — Mike Sielski, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 9 Oct. 2017

"Primarily I work in brass and silver-soldered brass. The process is heating and annealing the brass, bending it, soldering pieces together to get the general form and then slowly bending until the pieces fit." — Andrew Watt, quoted in The Washington Post, 10 Sept. 2017



Test Your Vocabulary

What word refers to a mixture of metals (such as lead and tin) that is melted and used to join metal parts?

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