detergent

(redirected from nonionic detergent)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.

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]

detergent

/de·ter·gent/ (de-ter´jent)
1. purifying, cleansing.
2. an agent that purifies or cleanses.
3. in biochemistry, any of a class of agents, characterized by a hydrophilic polar head group attached to a nonpolar hydrocarbon chain, which reduce the surface tension of water, emulsify, and aid in the solubilization of soil.

detergent

[ditur′jənt]
Etymology: L, detergere, to cleanse
1 a cleansing agent.
2 (in respiratory therapy) a wetting agent that is administered to mediate the removal of respiratory tract secretions from airway walls. See also surfactant.

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]

detergent

1. purifying, cleansing.
2. an agent that purifies or cleanses.

anionic detergent
a substance which when dissolved contributes a hydrophobic ion which carries a negative charge to the solution. Soap is an example.
cationic detergent
the dissociated substance produces a positively charged hydrophobic ion. The quarternary ammonium compounds are the best known examples. They are innocuous if properly diluted but the concentrates are very poisonous.
nonionic surface-acting detergent
e.g. the polyoxyethylenes are regarded as nonpoisonous.