One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A positively charged ion, i.e. one that would be attracted to the cathode in electrolysis.The opposite of anion
- ‘The key step in a unimolecular reaction is the formation of the carbon cation, or carbonium ion, by the departure of the leaving group.’
- ‘The functional groups of iron hydroxides may sequestrate some cations and anions.’
- ‘When two atoms swap electrons to produce a cation and an anion, the two ions are attracted to each other.’
- ‘It is called a cation if a positive charge exists and an anion if a negative charge exists.’
- ‘Non-metals accept electrons in forming anions while metals donate electrons to form cations.’
Mid 19th century: from cata- ‘alongside’ or from cathode, + ion.
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