Definitions

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

  • n. Diffusion of fluid through a semipermeable membrane from a solution with a low solute concentration to a solution with a higher solute concentration until there is an equal concentration of fluid on both sides of the membrane.
  • n. The tendency of fluids to diffuse in such a manner.
  • n. A gradual, often unconscious process of assimilation or absorption: learned French by osmosis while residing in Paris for 15 years.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The net movement of solvent molecules from a region of high solvent potential to a region of lower solvent potential through a partially permeable membrane
  • n. Picking up knowledge accidentally, without actually seeking that particular knowledge.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The tendency in fluids to mix, or become equably diffused, when in contact. It was first observed between fluids of differing densities, and as taking place through a membrane or an intervening porous structure. An older term for the phenomenon was Osmose.
  • n. The action produced by this tendency.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The diffusion of fluids through membranes. See osmose.

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

  • n. (biology, chemistry) diffusion of molecules through a semipermeable membrane from a place of higher concentration to a place of lower concentration until the concentration on both sides is equal

Etymologies

From obsolete osmose, from earlier endosmose, from French : Greek endo-, endo- + Greek ōsmos, thrust, push (from ōthein, to push).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The most common alternative, reverse osmosis, is cheaper, but it 's still pricey and energy-intensive.

    High-Tech Cures for Water Shortages

  • He didn't he just absorbed by osmosis from the blog the fact that I'd be interested in anything Woolfy he might find for my shelves on his bookshop travels.

    Bookhound sniffs out a Woolf or two

  • Now, instead of picking up gossip by osmosis from the next booth at Terry’s Nook, their only leads arrive by telephone.

    Progress Site to Require Registration at cvillenews.com

  • Now, there is a process known as reverse osmosis, which is very good typically at getting rid of almost all impurities.

    CNN Transcript Mar 13, 2008

  • The object of the process called osmosis is to carry off these salts.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 417, December 29, 1883

  • Basically, when you put salt into a bucket of water and add a piece of meat ... chicken for example, a scientific process called osmosis begins to take effect.

    Corn Nation

  • There aren't any college records because the Zebulonians actually learn by osmosis, which is why being on the job is the best way for President Obama to learn.

    Propeller Most Popular Stories

  • But they are suffering from "osmosis," from simply spending too much time around investment bankers and the like.

    Sunday Reading

  • Even worse, she's playing the "I'm experienced" card - I have trouble buying this whole "osmosis" argument - hoping ppl start talking more about this angle ... hwc wrote on November 2, 2007 4: 19 PM:

    Election Central | Talking Points Memo | Did Hillary "Play The Gender Card"?

  • Most bacteria obtain energy by either absorbing marine dissolved organic matter through their cell membranes - osmotrophy (literally feeding through 'osmosis' in fact the material taken up is simply not obviously particulate, osmosis has little to do with the mechanisms used).

    Marine microbes

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