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

  • transitive v. To treat (cotton thread) with sodium hydroxide so as to shrink the fiber and increase its luster and affinity for dye.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To treat cotton fabric with sodium hydroxide to make it more lustrous and accepting of dyes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To treat (cotton fiber or fabrics) with a solution of caustic alkali. Such treatment causes the fiber to shrink in length and become stronger and more receptive of dyes. If the yarn or cloth is kept under tension during the process, it assumes a silky luster.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To treat (cotton fiber or fabrics) with a solution of caustic alkali according to the method of mercerization. Also spelled mercerise.

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

  • v. treat to strengthen and improve the luster


After John Mercer (1791-1866), British calico printer.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the inventor of the process John Mercer of Great Harwood, Lancashire, in the middle of the 19th century. (Wiktionary)


  • She held out against the two eighth-grade finalists for three rounds to take third place, correctly spelling "embarcadero" and "mercerize" and "indigenous" before stumbling on Stories


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