from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The combining of separate elements or substances to form a coherent whole.
  • noun The complex whole so formed.
  • noun Chemistry Formation of a compound from simpler compounds or elements.
  • noun Reasoning from the general to the particular; logical deduction.
  • noun The combination of thesis and antithesis in the Hegelian dialectical process whereby a new and higher level of truth is produced.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In Rom, antiq., a short garment, not known by any representations, worn instead of the toga at the Saturnalia and commonly at banquets.
  • noun In chem., the union of two compound bodies to form a more complex one.
  • noun A putting of two or more things together; composition; specifically, the combination of separate elements or objects of thought into a whole, as of simple into compound or complex conceptions, and individual propositions into a system; also, a process of reasoning advancing in a direct manner from principles established or assumed, and propositions already proved, to the conclusion: the opposite of analysis.
  • noun Specifically— In grammar, the combination of radical and formative elements into one word, as distinguished from their maintenance in the condition of separate words. See synthetic, 2.
  • noun In surgery, an operation by which divided parts are united.
  • noun In chem., the uniting of elements into a compound; composition or combination: the opposite of analysis, which is the separation of a compound into its constituent parts: as, that water is composed of oxygen and hydrogen is proved both by analysis and by synthesis.
  • noun In acoustics, the combining of two or more simple sounds of different pitch, as those of several tuning-forks to produce or imitate a certain compound sound, as, for example, that of a piano-string.
  • noun See the adjectives.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Composition, or the putting of two or more things together, as in compounding medicines.
  • noun (Chem.) The art or process of making a compound by putting the ingredients together, as contrasted with analysis; thus, water is made by synthesis from hydrogen and oxygen; hence, specifically, the building up of complex compounds by special reactions, whereby their component radicals are so grouped that the resulting substances are identical in every respect with the natural articles when such occur; thus, artificial alcohol, urea, indigo blue, alizarin, etc., are made by synthesis.
  • noun (Logic) The combination of separate elements of thought into a whole, as of simple into complex conceptions, species into genera, individual propositions into systems; -- the opposite of analysis.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The formation of something complex or coherent by combining simpler things.
  • noun chemistry The reaction of elements or compounds to form more complex compounds.
  • noun logic A deduction from the general to the particular.
  • noun philosophy The combination of thesis and antithesis.
  • noun military In intelligence usage, the examining and combining of processed information with other information and intelligence for final interpretation; (JP 1-02).
  • noun rhetoric An apt arrangement of elements of a text, especially for euphony.

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

  • noun reasoning from the general to the particular (or from cause to effect)
  • noun the process of producing a chemical compound (usually by the union of simpler chemical compounds)
  • noun the combination of ideas into a complex whole


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

[Latin, collection, from Greek sunthesis, from suntithenai, to put together : sun-, syn- + tithenai, to put; see dhē- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin synthesis, from Ancient Greek σύνθεσις (synthesis, "a putting together; composition"), from συντίθημι ("put together, combine"), from σύν (syn, "together") + τίθημι ("set, place").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word synthesis.


  • The synthesis in such a conception cannot proceed a priori -- without the aid of experience -- to the intuition which corresponds to the conception; and, for this reason, none of these conceptions can produce a determinative synthetical proposition, they can never present more than a principle of the synthesis* of possible empirical intuitions.

    The Critique of Pure Reason Immanuel Kant 1764

  • If this refers to the references you previously cited then kindly cite the exact data you are using to support your claim that evidence for the cause of protein synthesis is linked to "specialization of function in self-replicators."

    Bits and Pieces of an RNA World 2007

  • After all, protein synthesis is essential for life, and human ribosomes are similar but not identical to microbial ribosomes, so it's possible to find drugs that inactivate only the latter.

    Exploring the New RNA World 2004

  • This product contains more of one enantiomer than of the other, that is, the synthesis is asymmetric.

    The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2001 - Information for the Public 2001

  • The term synthesis, however, must be used with the same care as was noted in regard to the term analysis.

    Ontario Normal School Manuals: Science of Education Ontario. Ministry of Education

  • I premise that by the term synthesis of apprehension I understand the combination of the manifold in an empirical intuition, whereby perception, that is, empirical consciousness of the intuition (as phenomenon), is possible.

    The Critique of Pure Reason Immanuel Kant 1764

  • The importance of this synthesis is above all in its industrial application in the form of the Haber-Bosch method, which had been developed by Carl

    The Nobel Prize in Chemistry: The Development of Modern Chemistry 2010

  • RNA – ribonucleic acid – is a copy of the DNA instructions that serves as a messenger to direct protein synthesis, which is then destroyed after it has fulfilled its function.

    Exploring the New RNA World 2004

  • The correct synthesis is that we need stabilization policies that work and that we also need policies that produce justice — broadly shared prosperity and adequate public services.

    Matthew Yglesias » Justice and Stabilization 2010

  • Another master in chemical synthesis is Elias James

    The Nobel Prize in Chemistry: The Development of Modern Chemistry 2010


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Often I get the feeling that I can discern three “levels�? of creativity underlying for example philosophies, methodologies or novels. Surely that is an oversimplification, but then again I know of no way of grasping anything on any level that doesn’t rely on some degree of simplification, at least on the lowest known level. Also, objectively, it feels wrong to arrange them hierarchically, yet I’ve observed that with each step upward on this imagined ladder, the works become increasingly enjoyable to me.

    I’ve come across several instances where two seemingly contradictory concepts had been combined in such a way that neither of them had lost any of its appealing aspects but that they suddenly complemented each other like two at first repellent magnets that just had to be turned a little and now firmly stick together. I chose to call this a synthesis of the two concepts and to put it at the top of my imagined hierarchy.

    Then there is what I like to call the compromise, where the contradiction had been mollified by way of scraping off all the—often appealing—aspects that clash. The result being some indistinct and inconspicuous gray mass or soft background noise.

    And then, of course, there is the possibility to just lump the two concepts together and ignore the contradiction and the resulting inconsistencies.

    What I’m asking is not really whether there is something missing from this system—surely there is, after all it is designed to oversimplify things—but what is actually wrong with it. (But mostly, I just wanted to tidy up and test-drive this train of thought.)

    September 21, 2009