Adsorbing – Definition & Meaning


Adsorbing is a term that is commonly used in the field of chemistry and physics. It refers to the process of attracting and holding molecules or particles onto the surface of a solid or liquid. This process is different from absorption, which involves the penetration of molecules or particles into the interior of a material. In this article, we will explore the definition, origin, meaning, associations, synonyms, antonyms, and example sentences of adsorbing.


Adsorbing is defined as the process by which molecules, ions or particles adhere to the surface of a solid or liquid. The molecules or particles that are adsorbed are referred to as the adsorbate, while the surface on which they are adsorbed is called the adsorbent. Adsorption occurs due to the attractive forces between the adsorbate and the adsorbent.


The word “adsorbing” is derived from the Latin word “adsorbere”, which means “to suck up”. The term was first used in the late 19th century by the British chemist Thomas Graham, who was studying the behavior of gases. Since then, the term has been widely used in the fields of chemistry, physics, and materials science.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, adsorbing means “to attract and hold (molecules, ions, or particles) on the surface of a solid or liquid by physical or chemical forces”. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “to accumulate (a gas or dissolved substance) on a surface”. The Cambridge dictionary defines it as “to hold something, especially a gas or liquid, on the surface of a solid material”.


Adsorbing is associated with various processes in chemistry and physics, such as catalysis, chromatography, and gas separation. It is also used in the purification of water and air, as well as in the production of pharmaceuticals and other chemicals.


Some synonyms of adsorbing include attracting, adhering, sticking, clinging, and binding.


The antonyms of adsorbing include desorbing, releasing, and detaching.

The same root words

The root word of adsorbing is “adsorb”, which means “to adhere to a surface”. Other words that have the same root include adsorption, adsorbate, and adsorbent.

Example Sentences

  1. The activated carbon in the filter adsorbs impurities from the water.
  2. The catalyst adsorbs the reactants onto its surface, leading to a faster reaction.
  3. The gas chromatography column adsorbs different compounds at different rates, allowing for their separation.
  4. The air purifier uses a filter that adsorbs pollutants and allergens from the air.

Adsorbing is a process that is essential in many fields of science and engineering. It involves the attraction and holding of molecules or particles onto a surface, and is different from absorption. Understanding the meaning and applications of adsorbing can help us develop more efficient and effective materials and processes for various purposes.

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