Definition of racemic in English:



  • Composed of dextrorotatory and levorotatory forms of a compound in equal proportion.

    • ‘Louis Pasteur performed the first enantiomeric resolution in 1848 while studying crystals of a salt of racemic tartaric acid.’
    • ‘It has developed a new process to separate racemic epoxides by hydrolysis.’
    • ‘It has an asymmetric carbon atom and therefore has levo and dextro isomers but is supplied as a racemic mixture for anesthetic use.’
    • ‘Phenylpropanolamine, a racemic mixture of norephedrine esters, causes a release of norepinephrine throughout the body and stimulates hypothalamic adrenoreceptors to reduce appetite.’
    • ‘The chemical structure of the natural form of ephedrine is levorotatory, while the synthetic ephedrine is a racemic mixture.’


Early 19th century (in racemic acid): from French racémique derived from grape juice (originally referring to tartaric acid in this) + -ic.