Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The action of a catalyst, especially an increase in the rate of a chemical reaction.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The increase of the rate of a chemical reaction induced by a catalyst.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Dissolution; degeneration; decay.
  • n.
  • n. A process by which a chemical reaction is accelerated in the presence of certain agents which were formerly believed to exert an influence by mere contact. It is now believed that such reactions are attended with the formation of an intermediate compound or compounds, so that by alternate composition and decomposition the agent is apparenty left unchanged.
  • n. The catalytic force.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Dissolution; destruction; degeneration; decay.
  • n. A decomposition and new combination supposed by Berzelius and other chemists to be produced among the proximate and elementary principles of one or more compounds, by virtue of the mere presence of a substance or substances which do not of themselves enter into the reaction.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. acceleration of a chemical reaction induced the presence of material that is chemically unchanged at the end of the reaction

Etymologies

Greek katalusis, dissolution, from katalūein, to dissolve : kata-, intensive pref.; see cata- + lūein, to loosen; see leu- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek κατάλυσις (katalusis, "dissolution"), from καταλύω (kataluō, "I dissolve"), from κατά (kata, "down") + λύω (luō, "I loose"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Warburg had shown that this yellow pigment is involved in catalysis of the oxidation of hexose-monophosphoric acid during yeast metabolism.

    Richard Kuhn and the Chemical Institute: Double Bonds and Biological Mechanisms

  • I therefore took the opportunity offered to me by many reports, etc. to combat those injurious hypotheses and draw attention to the incomparably greater effectiveness of the simple definition of catalysis based on measurable facts which states that catalysis is a chemical acceleration brought about by the presence of substances which do not appear in the reaction product.

    Wilhelm Ostwald - Nobel Lecture

  • Inevitably, therefore, I was compelled to the view that the nature of catalysis is not be sought in the inducement of

    Wilhelm Ostwald - Nobel Lecture

  • Berzelius introduced the name catalysis instead, with the active but unconsumed substance being termed the catalytic substance or catalyst, and the cause underlying the phenomena catalytic force.

    Wilhelm Ostwald - Nobel Lecture

  • At the same time biology, too, gave closer attention to the problem of catalysis, which is, of course, one of the organism's main agencies for an enormous variety of purposes, and again the kinetic definition proved superior to all other attempted generalizations, some of which were more figurative than objective.

    Wilhelm Ostwald - Nobel Lecture

  • Even the term catalysis which, after being for long misunderstood, nay despised, is now back in favour, we owe to

    Wilhelm Ostwald - Nobel Lecture

  • Its necessity emerged quite clearly at that meeting, for in the chemical literature of those days it is not uncommon to encounter the comment "that the name catalysis is not an explanation of these processes", and that comment was to be taken as a reason for rejecting the concept in question.

    Wilhelm Ostwald - Nobel Lecture

  • “Water-surface interactions are ubiquitous in nature and play an important role in many technological applications such as catalysis and corrosion,” said Greg Kimmel, staff scientist at the Department of Energy lab and lead author of a paper in the current issue Oct. 15 advance online edition of Physical Review Letters.

    Wetness-Defying Water | Impact Lab

  • The method has found several important fields of application, for instance in the study of surface-chemistry processes such as catalysis and corrosion.

    Press Release: The 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics

  • After consistent, continuous research he successfully formulated a principle to describe the nature of catalysis which is satisfactory for the present state of knowledge, namely that catalytic action consists in the modification, by the acting substance, the catalyst, of the rate at which a chemical reaction occurs, without that substance itself being part of the end-products formed.

    Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1909 - Presentation Speech

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