Definition of nematic in US English:



  • Relating to or denoting a state of a liquid crystal in which the molecules are oriented in parallel but not arranged in well-defined planes.

    Compare with smectic
    • ‘At the macroscopic scale, samples held in test-tubes spontaneously demix under the influence of gravity into a top isotropic phase and a bottom birefringent nematic phase.’
    • ‘Results indicate that alignment in charged nematic media is a function not only of the solute's shape, but also of its electric multipole moments of net charge, dipole, and quadrupole.’
    • ‘Many are eyeing nematic elastomers, which can deform 400% in response to heating or cooling.’
    • ‘Molecules in the nematic liquid crystal phase stay parallel to one another.’
    • ‘Liquid crystal composite with droplets of plural chiral nematic materials with different reflection bands’


  • A nematic substance.

    • ‘For low concentrations of added BSA the MTs form a nematic, whereas at higher concentrations the rectangular bundle phase is observed.’
    • ‘The presences of very small amounts of MAPs greatly suppress the nematic to rectangular bundle transition.’


Early 20th century: from Greek nēma, nēmat- ‘thread’ + -ic.