Definition of emulsion in US English:



  • 1A fine dispersion of minute droplets of one liquid in another in which it is not soluble or miscible.

    • ‘The Houston chemical plant is their only producer of the emulsion styrene butadiene rubber, the raw material used to fabricate tires, belts and hoses.’
    • ‘This produces structures known as micelles, giving fatty acids the ability to form emulsions.’
    • ‘An oil-in-water emulsion is created by dispersing oil droplets in an aqueous phase.’
    • ‘It had become an experimental fact that both solutes and Brownian emulsions obey the gas laws.’
    • ‘Cationic bitumen emulsions break by means of physicochemical interactions between the emulsion particles and the mineral aggregate.’
    • ‘Liquid polymer emulsions are used for dust control and soil and slope stabilization.’
    • ‘Her PhD thesis investigated the role of surfactants and emulsions in the petrochemical industry, and detailed the chemical mechanisms involved in road making.’
    • ‘The binder may be dissolved in a solvent, or in the form of an emulsion or colloidal dispersion in water.’
    • ‘Today, a typical sun protection product consists of a UV absorber in a base, which may be alcohol, oil, or more frequently, an emulsion.’
    • ‘Thus, the selection of the emulsifier used in the preparation of bitumen emulsions is a critical factor in road making applications.’
    • ‘Industry preparation of bitumen emulsions often requires that acid (commonly hydrochloric or phosphoric acid) be used as part of the emulsion formulation.’
    • ‘Clearly, a system that can create an emulsion with uniform droplet sizes would simplify the data analysis.’
    • ‘Latex emulsions are made up of polymeric materials suspended in an aqueous solvent by a surfactant.’
    • ‘The dermal barrier composition is moisture activated, and remains inert until the hydrophobic and hydrophilic polymer emulsions contact a suitable substrate such as human skin.’
    • ‘Do not use kerosene or fuel oil emulsions as they can cause undesirable flavors in fish.’
    • ‘Insecticides and miticides may be purchased in forms such as dusts, wettable powders, liquid concentrates, flowables, granules, oil emulsions, aerosol sprays, baits and fumigants.’
    • ‘They had developed and patented a form of fuel that uses emulsions of water and petroleum as replacements for traditional fuels.’
    • ‘As the various ingredients begin to solidify, their surface properties change, weakening the emulsion so that the fat droplets can coalesce still further during the freezing phase.’
    • ‘This allows the fluorescent microspheres to behave like the aqueous droplets in the emulsion.’
    • ‘To prepare a stable emulsion, an emulsifier must be added that facilitates emulsification of the two immiscible phases and promotes stability.’
    lotion, salve, application, preparation, rinse, liquid, liniment, embrocation
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A fine dispersion of one liquid or pureed food substance in another.
      ‘ravioli with pea and ginger emulsion’
      • ‘Creaming will occur over time with all emulsions in which there is a difference in the density of the two phases.’
      • ‘Once the egg emulsion is at the proper temperature, add hot milk to egg mixture, 1/8 of a cup at a time.’
      • ‘For the apple emulsion: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat combine juice and honey and reduce by two-thirds.’
      • ‘Froth corn emulsion with hand blender.’
      • ‘For the curry emulsion, in a deep saute pan heat the clarified butter over low heat.’
      • ‘Place sliced asparagus on top of the herb emulsion.’
      • ‘Such was the case with a recent special in which morel caps were stuffed with chicken mousse and served in an emulsion of foie gras and truffle juice.’
      • ‘Country cooking of the Mediterranean relied on breadcrumbs to help form an emulsion base for a cold sauce, also known as a rouille.’
      • ‘Common emulsions used in cookery are milk, cream, and butter, and made sauces such as mayonnaise.’
      • ‘Crack the three or four eggs into a kitchen blender, whisk for thirty seconds and you get instant consistent pure egg emulsion every time!’
      • ‘Place in center of plate, surround with coconut curry emulsion, garnish with pear and almond mixture and serve.’
      • ‘The tantalising luncheon menu featured a starter of lemon infused monkfish brochette with a bell pepper emulsion followed by a consomme of chicken raviolis.’
      • ‘Yogurt, ice cream, and whipped cream are also emulsions.’
  • 2British A water-based paint used for walls.

    • ‘Cement paints, masonry paints or exterior grade emulsion are suited to concrete surfaces.’
    • ‘The amount of pigment to emulsion will vary from colour to colour.’
    • ‘We also went to the DIY store for garden stuff and for a big bucket of white emulsion paint to brighten up the walls in Graham's workshop.’
    • ‘However, white emulsion is a cheap way to freshen-up a room and presents a blank canvas to viewers who will already have their own ideas about how a home should look.’
    • ‘As a general rule, the sequence is primer and undercoat on the woodwork, followed by two coats of emulsion on the walls, then a careful top coat around the woodwork.’
    • ‘Picture frames, bought cheaply from a homestore chain, can be painted in white emulsion to give a driftwood look.’
    • ‘For a smooth finish on an even wall, use emulsion.’
    • ‘A handy tip is to give the walls one or two coats of emulsion or a coat of paste before you wallpaper.’
    • ‘Here's a basic guide: emulsion is a water-based paint for walls and ceilings, which comes in finishes including matt and silk.’
    • ‘Paint the tip with matt white emulsion paint and allow to dry.’
    • ‘The walls are heavily decorated with paintings of Egyptian gods and goddesses, solar discs, blood-red emulsion and gold acrylic paint.’
    • ‘Sand the bed down to remove the varnish then apply one coat of emulsion paint in blue or dark pink.’
    • ‘He'd made it brighter by painting all the walls in lurid yellow emulsion.’
    • ‘For a while he stood in front of the Ironmonger's pretending to study the barbecue equipment, garden furniture, piled cans of emulsion paint.’
    • ‘The number had been daubed on the wall in off-white emulsion paint next to the boarded up front door.’
    • ‘If you can paint your walls, then do - any room will benefit from a refreshing coat of brilliant white emulsion and it is cheap too.’
    • ‘Use matt white emulsion paint as an undercoat for the tip.’
    1. 2.1 A light-sensitive coating for photographic films and plates, containing crystals of a silver compound dispersed in a medium such as gelatin.
      • ‘Traditional photography utilizes negative film and positive prints that hold the image in an emulsion of silver for black and white or dyes for color.’
      • ‘The idea is to create a dot pattern akin to the grains of the photographic emulsion.’
      • ‘To make the light-sensitive paper, a photographer mixes the emulsion for his platinum prints, then places it on art paper.’
      • ‘That is due to the fact that when different photographic emulsions are used for these shots, they are usually chosen for their sensitivity, as well as their spectral range.’
      • ‘In the photogravure process, the image is photochemically transferred to an etching plate that has been coated with a light-sensitive emulsion.’
      • ‘The silver halide crystals in a photographic emulsion are not perfect.’
      • ‘When I etched the film emulsion, I was looking for a way to animate without a camera.’
      • ‘The pressure plate inside the back has to be completely clean because the film emulsion runs across it.’
      • ‘You can change the color of the image by toning or applying gum bichromate emulsions to a finished platinum print.’
      • ‘Where there is color, the film has been exposed to light, and white is a ‘flare’ from outside on the sensitized emulsion of the film.’
      • ‘Indeed, this sense of starkness is echoed throughout the show; just 10 large scale gelatin silver emulsion prints were on show here.’
      • ‘This moisture is transferred from the subject to the emulsion surface of the photographic film and causes an alternation of the electric charge pattern on the film.’
      • ‘When the shutter of your camera opens for that fraction of a second, photons of light stream in and strike the silver halide grains suspended in the gelatin emulsion.’
      • ‘To make today's platinum prints, a photographer mixes the emulsion from platinum, gelatin and other ingredients, then hand coats a piece of fine art paper with the mixture.’
      • ‘The radiolabelled object is then exposed to a photographic emulsion to obtain a map of radionuclide distribution.’
      • ‘Most of these films have updated emulsions since this data sheet was published in 1982.’
      • ‘The workshop will cover all the camera-less techniques as well as the process of creating sound by scratching in an optical track onto the film emulsion.’
      • ‘He describes it as a universal developer for modern film emulsions used under diverse conditions, easy to use, and designed to achieve maximum image stain and minimum general stain.’
      • ‘The grain of photographic emulsion in camera film does much the same.’
      • ‘Other photographic emulsions may use other silver halides; for example silver chloride is used for any photography using infrared light.’
      mixture, mix, blend, compound, suspension, tincture, infusion, colloid, gel, fluid
      View synonyms


Early 17th century (denoting a milky liquid made by crushing almonds in water): from modern Latin emulsio(n-), from the verb emulgere ‘milk out’, from e- (variant of ex-) ‘out’ + mulgere ‘to milk’.