detergent

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detergent

 [de-ter´jent]
1. purifying or cleansing.
2. an agent that purifies or cleanses.
3. in biochemistry, any of a class of agents structurally consisting of a nonpolar hydrocarbon chain and a hydrophilic polar head group, which reduce the surface tension of water, emulsify, and aid in solubilization of soil.

de·ter·gent

(dē-tĕr'jent),
1. Cleansing.
2. A cleansing or purging agent, usually salts of long-chain aliphatic bases or acids (for example, quaternary ammonium or sulfonic acid compounds) that, through a surface action that depends on their possessing both hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties, exert cleansing (oil-dissolving) and antibacterial effects; acridine derivatives (for example, acriflavine, proflavine) as well as other dyes (for example, brilliant green, crystal violet) have detergent properties for the same reasons.
Synonym(s): detersive
[L. de-tergeo, pp. -tersus, to wipe off]

de·ter·gent

(dĕ-tĕr'jĕnt)
A cleansing or purging agent, usually salts of long-chain aliphatic bases or acids that, through a surface action that depends on their possessing both hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties, exert cleansing (i.e., oil-dissolving) and antibacterial effects.
[L. de-tergeo, pp. -tersus, to wipe off]

detergent

a substance that when dissolved in water acts as a cleansing agent for the removal of grease by altering the interfacial tension of water with other liquids or solids. Powerful detergents are used to break up oil spillages at sea.

de·ter·gent

(dĕ-tĕr'jĕnt)
A cleansing or purging agent that provides cleansing (i.e., oil-dissolving) and antibacterial effects.
[L. de-tergeo, pp. -tersus, to wipe off]