Definitions

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

  • n. Any of various plant glucosides that form soapy lathers when mixed and agitated with water, used in detergents, foaming agents, and emulsifiers.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of various steroid glycosides found in plant tissues that dissolve in water to give a soapy froth.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A poisonous glucoside found in many plants, as in the root of soapwort (Saponaria), in the bark of soap bark (Quillaia), etc. It is extracted as a white amorphous powder, which occasions a soapy lather in solution, and produces a local anæsthesia. Formerly called also struthiin, quillaiin, senegin, polygalic acid, etc. By extension, any one of a group of related bodies of which saponin proper is the type.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A glucoside (C32H54O18) found in the root of Saponaria officinalis and many other plants. It is a powerful sternutatory.
  • n. A general name applied to glucosides similar to saponin (see def. 1) which yield a foam or lather when the aqueous solution is shaken. Smilacin is a saponin. The poisonous saponins are called sapotoxins.

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

  • n. any of various plant glucosides that form soapy lathers when mixed and agitated with water; used in detergents and foaming agents and emulsifiers

Etymologies

From Latin sāpō, sāpōn-, hair dye, of Germanic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
sapon- + -in (Wiktionary)

Examples

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