Definition of oxidize in US English:


(British oxidise)


  • 1Combine or become combined chemically with oxygen.

    with object ‘when coal is burned any sulfur is oxidized to sulfur dioxide’
    no object ‘the fats in the food will oxidize, turning it rancid’
    • ‘Blackened lead white can be treated by oxidizing but oxygen will tarnish any silver.’
    • ‘These unsaturated hydrocarbons are readily oxidised and polymerised, which can reduce the oil's shelf life.’
    • ‘When the iron oxidizes with any trace oxygen in the atmosphere, it turns red.’
    • ‘Many metals are readily oxidized by oxygen in the atmosphere.’
    • ‘The coke is oxidized to carbon dioxide, which changes to carbon monoxide at high temperatures.’
    wear away, wear down, eat away, eat away at, gnaw away, gnaw away at, bite into, burn into, burn through, erode, abrade, consume, dissolve
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Chemistry Undergo or cause to undergo a reaction in which electrons are lost to another species.
      The opposite of reduce
      • ‘A species is oxidized in a reaction if it undergoes a increase in oxidation number.’
      • ‘In the process of decomposing, H2O2 releases free radicals - highly reactive intermediates that oxidize other molecules by removing electrons or hydrogen atoms from them.’
      • ‘A new reaction of this dye, whereby its excited triplet state oxidizes suitable electron donors, is now reported.’
      • ‘The reductant donates electrons and becomes oxidized while the oxidant gains electrons and is in turn reduced.’
      • ‘They remove electrons from the species being oxidized and are themselves reduced.’