Definition of catalyst in US English:

catalyst

noun

  • 1A substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change.

    • ‘Heterogeneous catalysts are materials that increase the rate of a reaction, but are not in the same phase as the reactants.’
    • ‘All of the platinum-group metals are good catalysts: they speed up the rate of certain chemical reactions.’
    • ‘Enzymes are the biological substance that act as catalysts and help complex reactions occur everywhere in life.’
    • ‘Ionic liquids usefully form one of the phases because they don't mix with many organic solvents, but readily dissolve metals used as catalysts.’
    • ‘When temperature is increased, synthetic catalysts can become just as active as enzymes.’
    • ‘Catalyst recovery is one of the most actively researched areas for cost-cutting in the chemical industry, as catalysts often contain rare and expensive metals.’
    • ‘The one exception is that it is sometimes used as a catalyst in the petroleum industry.’
    • ‘Many alkyl halides, alcohols, or alkenes can be reacted with benzene in the presence of certain catalysts to give an alkyl benzene.’
    • ‘The key tools will be new breeds of enzymes - protein catalysts that speed up chemical reactions in cells.’
    • ‘In fact, zeolites are the main catalysts in petrochemical refineries today.’
    • ‘He attempted to polymerize ethylene using catalysts at a much lower pressure than that used by the British process.’
    • ‘Some germanium is also used to make semiconductors, catalysts, and specialized glass for military weapon-sighting systems.’
    • ‘Instead, we started to look further afield at copper-based catalysts that had been rejected during the initial ester hydrogenation testwork.’
    • ‘Finally, a relatively small amount of rhenium is used to make catalysts for the petroleum industry.’
    • ‘Solid oxide catalysts are commonly used for chemical and refinery operations.’
    • ‘Chemicals in the catalytic converter act as catalysts, changing the highly hazardous gas compounds to less harmful ones.’
    • ‘Silicone surfactants, and amine and tin catalysts, are also used.’
    • ‘These versatile molecules function as catalysts in the hydrogen peroxide bleaching process.’
    • ‘The element is also used to make dyes, photographic film, specialized soaps, and catalysts.’
    • ‘Most converters use platinum or palladium metal catalysts that convert carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons to carbon dioxide and water vapor.’
    channel, medium, means, means of expression, agency, agent, instrument, mechanism, organ, apparatus, structure, machine, machinery
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    1. 1.1 A person or thing that precipitates an event.
      ‘the governor's speech acted as a catalyst for debate’
      • ‘Historical and meaningful events such as this often act as a catalyst for change.’
      • ‘The primary catalysts that induced this growth were the end-user industries, communications, and computers, in particular.’
      • ‘Public opinion polls often serve as catalysts for such debates.’
      • ‘On the second issue, the crisis also served as a catalyst to the birth of a more responsible and braver press.’
      • ‘It will hopefully act as a catalyst for more formal public education in the future.’
      • ‘The Parliamentary debate on this report was the actual catalyst which prompted the minister to resign.’
      • ‘The film's other characters are secondary, and often serve little purpose beyond acting as catalysts.’
      • ‘This is the catalyst for a chain of events which threatens to destabilise the parliament.’
      • ‘I hope that it will be a catalyst for an ongoing debate and discussion in our field.’
      • ‘The event was to be used as a catalyst for change and to bring new hope to residents in rundown areas of the city.’
      • ‘Events, individuals, circumstances and situations are catalysts for transformations in culture.’
      • ‘In Scotland, it has always been Catholic schools which have been the catalyst for this debate.’
      • ‘If there is any catalyst to get the team motivated for next season it will be this performance in the nationals.’
      • ‘There are many events however that serve as catalysts for the big historic shifts.’
      • ‘It is the union of the latter two that provides the catalyst for the events that follow.’
      • ‘More importantly, it was about inspired individuals being the catalysts of effecting new possibilities.’
      • ‘The beach becomes the catalyst which encourages them to break society's rules.’
      • ‘Though the film is around these two men, it is the women who play the catalyst to all the events and add momentum to the story.’
      • ‘It is amazing what acts as a catalyst to spur people on to do something about a situation.’
      • ‘All three shocks have caused, or been a catalyst for, a serious downturn in western economies.’
      stimulus, stimulation, motivation, motivating force, fillip, encouragement, influence, muse, goad, spur, lift, boost, incentive, incitement, impulse
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Origin

Early 20th century: from catalysis, on the pattern of analyst.

Pronunciation

catalyst

/ˈkæd(ə)ləst//ˈkad(ə)ləst/