Definition of oxidize in English:


(also oxidise)


  • 1Combine chemically with oxygen:

    [with object] ‘when coal is burnt any sulphur is oxidized to sulphur dioxide’
    [no object] ‘the fats in the food will oxidize, turning it rancid’
    • ‘These unsaturated hydrocarbons are readily oxidised and polymerised, which can reduce the oil's shelf life.’
    • ‘Blackened lead white can be treated by oxidizing but oxygen will tarnish any silver.’
    • ‘The coke is oxidized to carbon dioxide, which changes to carbon monoxide at high temperatures.’
    • ‘Many metals are readily oxidized by oxygen in the atmosphere.’
    • ‘When the iron oxidizes with any trace oxygen in the atmosphere, it turns red.’
    wear away, wear down, bite into, burn into, burn through, erode, abrade, consume, dissolve
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Chemistry Undergo or cause to undergo a reaction in which electrons are lost to another species:
      [with object] ‘iron (II) compounds are slowly oxidized by air to form iron (III) compounds’
      The opposite of reduce
      [no object] ‘secondary alcohols oxidize to give ketones’
      • ‘In the process of decomposing, H2O2 releases free radicals - highly reactive intermediates that oxidize other molecules by removing electrons or hydrogen atoms from them.’
      • ‘They remove electrons from the species being oxidized and are themselves reduced.’
      • ‘A new reaction of this dye, whereby its excited triplet state oxidizes suitable electron donors, is now reported.’
      • ‘A species is oxidized in a reaction if it undergoes a increase in oxidation number.’
      • ‘The reductant donates electrons and becomes oxidized while the oxidant gains electrons and is in turn reduced.’