Definition of precipitant in English:



  • 1A cause of a particular action or event.

    ‘the immediate precipitants of the conflict’
    • ‘It is reported by his mother who attended with him that he regularly will fly into a rage without precipitant, has poor recollection of the events and feels remorse and guilt afterwards.’
    • ‘Last but not least, one should look for stress as a precipitant.’
    • ‘Stress itself could be a possible precipitant of urticaria.’
    • ‘Guided by these principles, he made several criticisms of the police as both background to and immediate precipitants of the disorders.’
    • ‘Eleven, even if it remains a dead law, it is not without its precipitant and pernicious consequences.’
    1. 1.1Psychology A cause or stimulus which precipitates a particular condition.
      ‘depression may be a precipitant in many cases’
      • ‘Most reported interventions have begun with assessment of seizure precipitants, looking particularly for emotionally based triggers for seizures.’
      • ‘Pending or actual separation, issuance of a restraining order, and threatening behavior are common precipitants.’
      • ‘While it is a statistical certainty that some Ecstasy users will present for psychiatric services, the current available data shed little light on whether Ecstasy use is a precipitant, modifier or consequence of psychiatric illness.’
      • ‘Such pediatric catatonia - more often found in boys than in girls - has the same characteristics, similar precipitants and the same response to treatments as adult catatonia.’
      • ‘Cognitive models focus on maladaptive or biased thought processes, whereas interpersonal models focus on social difficulties and stressful interpersonal environments as precipitants of psychopathology.’
      spur, stimulant, encouragement, impetus, boost, prompt, prod, incentive, inducement, inspiration, fillip
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  • 2Chemistry
    A substance that causes the precipitation of a specified substance.

    ‘a protein precipitant’
    • ‘The model protein lysozyme in the presence of the precipitant, sodium chloride, was used in this study.’
    • ‘The precipitants with protein A-Sepharose were divided into three equal parts, one for the kinase assay at 25°, one for the kinase assay at 37°, and one for the Western blotting.’
    • ‘Under real crystallization conditions, potential phase perturbants, such as proteins, native membrane lipids, detergents, and precipitants, will be present.’
    • ‘Nitric oxide, nitrates, and sulfa-containing drugs are the most frequent precipitants of clinically important methemoglobinemia.’


Early 17th century: from obsolete French précipitant ‘precipitating’, present participle of précipiter.