Definition of dilute in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Make (a liquid) thinner or weaker by adding water or another solvent to it.

    ‘bleach can be diluted with cold water’
    • ‘If the higher concentration is used, it should be diluted appropriately with sterile water.’
    • ‘Old time gun makers stained their stocks with aqua fortis, a combination of nitric acid diluted with distilled water and iron filings.’
    • ‘The aim is to develop epoxy systems that can be diluted in water - for ease of cleaning - without compromising chemical resistance and cure rate.’
    • ‘Otherwise, they absorb too much water, diluting that intense strawberry flavor.’
    • ‘In Greece the exceptional character of the meal was stressed by the drinking of undiluted wine, for in normal circumstances wine was always diluted with water.’
    • ‘Good choices for fruit juices, which should be diluted 50 percent with water, are black cherry, blueberry or prune.’
    • ‘They are priced at £1.99 for 500 ml and must be diluted with water - delicious either hot or cold.’
    • ‘When using washing-machine water, combine the rinse-cycle water with the wash-cycle water to dilute the detergent and bleaching agents.’
    • ‘Dyes using acetone or alcohol solvents can be diluted with water also.’
    • ‘Syra is diluted with water and ingested or used as a marinade or preservative for meat and other food.’
    • ‘When you put water or lemon juice or otherwise dampen the fabric, the fibers absorb the liquid and the stain; the water can also dilute and spread the stain to a larger area.’
    • ‘The result is a coffee concentrate that can be diluted with water to taste and then heated or iced as you wish.’
    • ‘It was and is diluted with water to make the beverage.’
    • ‘Water dilutes, dissolves and helps eliminate toxins and trash that could otherwise inhibit immune function, muscle recovery and growth.’
    • ‘Bass in particular are known to favour areas where the salinity of the salt water has been diluted by the fresh water.’
    • ‘Incredibly sweet and sirupy, with a strong grape taste, saba can be diluted in water or wine to make an excellent drink, or poured on ice-cream or fruit for dessert.’
    • ‘On the other hand, people feel thirsty and drink much more water, which dilutes the gastric fluid and lowers its acidity.’
    • ‘A team of chemists in Korea found that when certain substances are diluted in water, the molecules clump together instead of getting further apart, as common sense would suggest.’
    • ‘Distilled water dilutes and lowers the buffer capacity of your tank.’
    • ‘To prevent this, the wastewater must be released below the ocean surface, where it can mix and be diluted with ocean water before coming into contact with the atmosphere.’
    weak, dilute, thin, thinned out, watered down, watery
    make weaker, weaken
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    1. 1.1 Make (something) weaker in force, content, or value by modifying it or adding other elements to it.
      ‘the reforms have been diluted’
      • ‘But record labels will insist on keeping CDs in the charts because downloaders buy such a broad range of content they dilute the marketing push behind new artists - which labels need to survive.’
      • ‘Its difficulty leads to a temptation to dilute the hard academic material with non-physics elements, as you pointed out.’
      • ‘The undermining of the authority of medicine dilutes the doctor-patient relationship and reconstructs it as a partnership of equals, thereby neutralising the expertise required for cure.’
      • ‘On the one hand, scientists have often accused the mass media of distorting and diluting their work by trying to make it more accessible.’
      • ‘In this case the Court emphatically confirmed the direct effect of regulations and criticized any attempt by a Member State to alter or dilute the requirements of a Community regulation.’
      • ‘There are many offences for which any element of stigma is diluted almost to vanishing point, as with speeding on the roads, illegal parking, riding a bicycle without lights, or dropping litter.’
      • ‘In addition, it will dilute its holding in the present subsidiary.’
      • ‘It encourages innovations so long as these do not dilute the original style and value.’
      • ‘In many cases, these compromises dilute the impact of the proposed reform, often postponing major changes until a later date.’
      • ‘Corrupt practices dilute the gamut of restrictions and the fear of punishment.’
      • ‘Further, one has to ensure the contents of the scriptures are not diluted.’
      • ‘This cross contamination could dilute estimates of benefit.’
      • ‘But there is the danger that composers writing for amateurs may feel forced to dilute their musical language, to compromise their artistic integrity on the altar of accessibility.’
      • ‘Grade compression, however, dilutes the value of the information and forces employers and others to substitute more time consuming and possibly less reliable metrics.’
      • ‘A good point, and one that developers must address before the value of tags are diluted into irrelevance.’
      • ‘But time has clearly diluted its adventurous edge, and some of its elements feel merely quirky.’
      • ‘The latter option, aside from being a political non-starter, would also dilute the high quality of the all-volunteer force.’
      • ‘An international coalition of pressure groups said last night the contents of the deal were so diluted that they were meaningless.’
      • ‘His friends saw him as the only senior Labor politician who was not prepared to dilute core party values and views.’
      • ‘After supporting my education reforms, he now wants to dilute them.’
      diminish, reduce, decrease, lessen, attenuate, make weaker, weaken, mitigate, temper, quell, quieten, allay, assuage, alleviate, palliate, moderate, modify, tone down
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    2. 1.2 Reduce the value of (a shareholding) by issuing more shares in a company without increasing the values of its assets.
      • ‘If the owners are willing to have their shares diluted, they can instead issue new shares and invest the loan proceeds in the company.’
      • ‘This will force them to dilute current shareholders' interests due to the large amount of funds that have to be raised in order to finance the purchases.’
      • ‘In that case, the founders' shareholdings would be diluted to 20.9 per cent each, while this would be diluted to 4.4 per cent.’
      • ‘If you choose to do nothing, your shareholding will be diluted thanks to the extra shares issued.’
      • ‘His shareholding will be diluted to 44.54 per cent upon the conversion of the bond.’
      • ‘The deep discount means that if the shareholders don't cough up, their existing shareholdings will be diluted.’
      • ‘But the outcome for shareholders is generally desperate because their interests tend to be heavily diluted by the issue of new equity to the creditors.’
      • ‘The two banks will also forgo the right that prevents their shareholding from being further diluted to less than 3.75 per cent apiece.’
      • ‘He retained a stake in the company, but the board diluted the shares, reducing his equity to less than 2%.’
      • ‘For the thousands of shareholders, whose stake in the company, like mine, have been diluted to near-zero, there is however a lesson to be learnt.’
      • ‘He added that it is wrong to assume that South Africans will be dominating the the merged entity as the shareholding is diluted by 22.7%.’
      • ‘A consequence for investors is that earnings are being diluted as more shares are issued.’
      • ‘However, the government plans to divest or dilute its shareholdings in a controlled way in government-linked companies that are no longer relevant to its objectives.’
      • ‘Shareholders with super-voting rights are reluctant to raise cash by selling additional shares - that could dilute these shareholders' influence.’
      • ‘The issue of the new shares will dilute both the government and staff shareholdings.’
      • ‘Earnings can be calculated with shares outstanding, or it can be fully diluted, and it can also include or exclude extraordinary items.’
      • ‘The burden of these once looked to have the potential to massively dilute existing shareholders' equity.’
      • ‘The increase in shares outstanding, however, dilutes the earnings per share, so the stock price would decrease.’
      • ‘The directors' ability to issue new shares and dilute existing holdings is restricted.’
      • ‘It would have diluted everyone's stake, but it would have run the company during the crisis.’


  • 1(of a liquid) made thinner or weaker by having had water or another solvent added to it.

    • ‘Wash plant pots and trays in soapy water and rinse in dilute bleach or disinfectant, then sort into sizes, getting rid of any that are not needed.’
    • ‘Feed plants every few weeks with dilute fish emulsion.’
    • ‘Enhanced carbon dioxide levels have some effect, but the worst offender is sulphur dioxide, which dissolves in water and acts as a dilute acid.’
    • ‘Finally, don't forget to deadhead and water your containers regularly, and if you add very dilute liquid feed to the watering can every time, the plants will thank you for it.’
    • ‘Fertilize monthly during spring and summer with a dilute liquid plant food according to label instructions.’
    • ‘What happens is the salt is dissolved into water to make a dilute brine, and then it's pumped into a tank where a large amount of current is put in to separate the sodium from the chlorine.’
    • ‘The dilute spray volume is based on the rule that it takes 0.7 to 1.0 gallon to treat 1,000 cubic feet of tree canopy to the point of runoff.’
    • ‘So he balanced out the levels by splitting the liquid between the two cups, so now both contain dilute hot chocolate.’
    • ‘Make the standard conversion by multiplying the amount of pesticide per 100 gallons times the standard dilute volume of water per acre.’
    • ‘A detention time as short as 30 minutes can be used to settle out solids from dilute waste waters such as open-lot runoff.’
    • ‘This observation may be an important, and so far ignored, component in the explanation for the dilute nectars found in bird-pollinated plants.’
    • ‘Finally, the cotton cloth was colored using a dilute brown paint mixture applied by brush.’
    • ‘When water is plentiful, these organs reabsorb little water and release a dilute urine.’
    • ‘This leadership contest is not a case for homoeopathy, you cannot fight one poison with a dilute potion of the same.’
    • ‘To conduct a test, chips of either water- or oil-based paints are dissolved in dilute vinegar and a drop of the liquid is added to a test tube containing the sensors.’
    • ‘By feeding one of the ants a small amount of dilute sugar water, we were able to distinguish workers from the two subcolonies during the trials by differences in abdomen size.’
    • ‘The water turnover rates of hummingbirds feeding on dilute nectar are more similar to those of amphibious and aquatic organisms than to those of terrestrial vertebrates.’
    • ‘Remarkably, the females give birth at this time of year; nursing sifaka mothers produce very dilute milk and thus lose significant amounts of water during lactation.’
    • ‘Some get good results from dilute vinegar soaks, painting the nail with tea tree oil or squirting the oil from Vitamin E capsules around the nail.’
    • ‘In addition, each pot is fed a dilute liquid fertilizer twice a month.’
    weak, diluted, thin, thinned out, watered down, watery
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    1. 1.1Chemistry (of a solution) having a relatively low concentration of solute.
      ‘a dilute solution of potassium permanganate’
      • ‘In dilute solution, starch molecules will precipitate, with the insoluble material being difficult to redissolve by heating.’
      • ‘So grain elevator operators should welcome a test that uses a dilute sodium hydroxide solution to accentuate color differences of wheat seeds.’
      • ‘The carbonates are washed repeatedly with a dilute solution of sodium carbonate, thus removing any coloration from the precipitate.’
      • ‘The new test uses a dilute solution of potassium permanganate.’
      • ‘A dilute solution of acetic acid was cooled below its freezing point.’
    2. 1.2 (of color or light) weak or low in concentration.
      ‘a short measure of dilute sun’
      • ‘Even the nebulae, those ‘extended masses of dilute light’, are thought by some to be condensing into planetary systems.’


Mid 16th century: from Latin dilut- ‘washed away, dissolved’, from the verb diluere.