Definition of synthetic in English:



  • 1(of a substance) made by chemical synthesis, especially to imitate a natural product.

    ‘synthetic rubber’
    • ‘He further explained that synthetic fiber is used for thread production.’
    • ‘Other researchers performed cell growth assays comparing natural and synthetic cholesterol.’
    • ‘These drugs are synthetic substances related to the male sex hormones, called androgens.’
    • ‘New synthetic materials claim to be absorbed rapidly and thus to minimize these disadvantages.’
    • ‘Easier to wash than synthetic fabrics, natural fabrics are the perfect choice for slipcovers, bedding, upholstery, draperies and cushions.’
    • ‘The primary use of ammonia, in turn, is in the manufacture of synthetic fertilizers.’
    • ‘And one of the key choices is whether to use organic or synthetic fertilizers.’
    • ‘The changing status of his preferred materials invites this - tyres are no longer manufactured from rubber plants but from synthetic materials produced from crude oil.’
    • ‘Mixtures of several synthetic dyes, or mixtures of natural and synthetic dyes, could produce more subdued colors.’
    • ‘Do these hormones have the same risks as synthetic hormones?’
    • ‘Nylon was the first synthetic fiber not based on natural materials such as cellulose.’
    • ‘Today, nearly a century later, the Haber process remains the only economically viable method for producing synthetic nitrogen fertilizer.’
    • ‘Conventional oil is derived from petroleum refining; synthetic oils are chemically manufactured replicas.’
    • ‘When carried out in hydrocarbon solvent, this reaction produces a synthetic rubber similar to natural rubber.’
    • ‘When we assault our skin with harsh detergents, exfoliants, drying alcohols and synthetic oils, we can end up producing completely unintended results.’
    • ‘Each year, over 1,000 new synthetic chemicals are introduced in the United States.’
    • ‘Both the natural and synthetic iron oxide pigments are very stable.’
    • ‘The chemicals which comprise synthetic drugs are natural.’
    • ‘These jersey knit sheets feature organic cotton and are not treated with chlorine bleach, chemical softeners, or synthetic dyes that can irritate skin.’
    • ‘Don't believe that synthetic pesticides are all bad news.’
    fake, false, imitation, mock, simulated, faux, ersatz, substitute
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of an emotion or action) not genuine; insincere.
      ‘their tears are a bit synthetic’
      • ‘While some musicians endeavor to muster whatever synthetic emotions their contract requires, he prefers to let things come naturally.’
      • ‘Whether this frothing was real or mere synthetic outrage is hard to say since the latter is now so common it is increasingly impossible to spot the real stuff.’
      • ‘The instigators don't really care - it is synthetic, undifferentiated anger, it's the need to get worked up.’
      • ‘Its focus then was about ‘ignoring social ills, setting up a synthetic sense of comfort.’’
      • ‘But the lack of even synthetic outrage at the Chancellor's tax confession is remarkable.’
      • ‘He is not an experienced debater, given in the past to flourishes of synthetic rage at Nationalists rather than the humour and put-down his elevated status requires.’
      • ‘‘It is rank hypocrisy and a synthetic concern from the Alliance which has never shown interest in those issues before,’ he says.’
      • ‘The prime minister is afraid that his protestations will be lost in the synthetic public outrage that is being loosed by the media.’
      • ‘Her funeral was a fitting stage for synthetic grief.’
      • ‘His outrage may be exposed as synthetic, but by then he will have slipped the chains of responsibility.’
      • ‘And the fact they're guided by newspaper editors, who know very well what the real world is like, but choose to ignore this in favour of manufactured indignation and synthetic outrage.’
      • ‘He has been attacked for reacting to the decision with synthetic anger.’
      • ‘If they had done so they would have realised that it was entirely reasonable, that the anger they described was entirely synthetic.’
      • ‘He loved her with all that he was; how could this emotion be synthetic?’
      • ‘But how can a film-maker as openly emotional as Spielberg be at home in a world where emotion has become entirely synthetic?’
      artificial, fake, false, faux, imitation, mock, simulated, ersatz, substitute
      View synonyms
  • 2Logic
    (of a proposition) having truth or falsity determinable by recourse to experience.

    Compare with analytic
    • ‘Contemporary philosophers recognize the possibility that sentences that express identities might be synthetic as opposed to analytic or true by definition.’
    • ‘The theory that existence is not a predicate implies, however, that all existential propositions are synthetic.’
    • ‘Kant held that, even though most mathematical propositions are synthetic, they are knowable a priori - independent of sensory experience.’
    • ‘Analytic propositions like synthetic propositions, can be believed for bad reasons, or for no reasons at all, and, when this occurs, we should deny that the believer knows the propositions in question.’
    • ‘As of now, in addition to that of the Monthly editors, I am aware of two entirely synthetic proofs of the statement.’
  • 3Linguistics
    (of a language) characterized by the use of inflections rather than word order to express grammatical structure.

    Contrasted with analytic and agglutinative
    • ‘Inflected languages are a variety of synthetic language in which a word takes various forms, most usually by the addition of suffixes, which show its role in the sentence.’
    • ‘Over time, synthetic languages have become more analytic, with the effect that inflexional morphology has repeatedly been simplified.’
    • ‘Its Cyrillic alphabet is phonetic; its grammar is synthetic, conveying information through word modification rather than order.’
    • ‘Albanian is a synthetic language that is similar in structure to most other Indo-European languages.’


usually synthetics
  • A synthetic material or chemical, especially a textile fibre.

    • ‘Beginner boots are usually soft (hard-shell boots are for advanced boarders) and are made of nylon or other synthetics.’
    • ‘Most caps are made from cedar, but you can also find redwood and other woods, as well as synthetics that match some of the popular engineered decking materials.’
    • ‘The pressures of visual appeal, economic accountability and the lack of information about alternatives have kept most turf managers from finding an alternative to synthetics.’
    • ‘Twentieth century technology has opened up a treasure of textures and materials from space age synthetics to hand-woven straws.’
    • ‘And all have fewer side effects and all are cheaper than the competing synthetics.’
    • ‘Factories are using the top-shelf blade steels, leading-edge frame materials, and state-of-the-art synthetics to make knives that used to be reserved for the work of a custom knifemaker.’
    • ‘Liberia was a major supplier of natural rubber to the United States until the 1970s, when prices plummeted due to competition from synthetics.’
    • ‘As one of the most easily dyed synthetics, pleather can be classified in many different fashion categories.’
    • ‘However, synthetics like polyester and nylon are naturally hydrophobic, so they repel the water and keep it away from the skin.’
    • ‘Over the past 50 years, synthetics have revolutionised the construction industry and environmentalists now believe this has been at great cost to both the environment and our health through the release of toxins.’
    • ‘Linen, always a staple for summer, is blended with synthetics like rayon and polyester to add sheen and reduce wrinkling.’
    • ‘Knits are available in 100 percent cotton, blends and synthetics, including microfibers and performance fibers.’
    • ‘The liberation war of 1971 culminating in the emergence of independent Bangladesh and subsequent rebuilding process drove many traditional buyers of jute to shift to synthetics.’
    • ‘On display will be a comprehensive collection of fine garments and accessories for men, women and children in cotton, silk, linen, denim and synthetics.’
    • ‘Linen yarn has twice the strength of cotton and mixes well with synthetics.’
    • ‘Nylon and synthetics, such as polyester and polypropylene, melt at about 480-degrees and 300-degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.’
    • ‘If you're in synthetics or cotton all that moisture is trapped on the inside of your garment.’
    • ‘The major competitors to the wool industry, cotton and synthetics, have developed new fibres that meet consumer needs such as being lightweight, soft and easy to care.’
    • ‘He says world economic growth is the strongest it's been in 15 years, and wool prices are more competitive against cotton and synthetics.’
    • ‘Surpluses persisted, however, thanks to greater foreign production and the increased use of synthetics in textile manufacturing.’


Late 17th century: from French synthétique or modern Latin syntheticus, from Greek sunthetikos, based on suntithenai ‘place together’.