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Definition of "catalyst" []

  • Chemistry A substance, usually used in small amounts relative to the reactants, that modifies and increases the rate of a reaction without being consumed in the process. (noun)
  • One that precipitates a process or event, especially without being involved in or changed by the consequences: "A free press ... has remained ... a vital catalyst to an informed and responsible electorate” ( Robert O'Neal). (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "catalyst" in a sentence
  • "Malone had filed the word catalyst in his mental Rolodex, right beside another nagging question."
  • "‡ The term catalyst is often used to refer to the prime agent of any change: “She was the catalyst for the reorganization."
  • "The breakthrough came in 1971 when Yves Chauvin presented new experiments and suggested that the catalyst is a carbon/metal compound in which the metal is bonded to carbon with a double bond."