Definitions

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

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

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • noun A glucoside (C32H54O18) found in the root of Saponaria officinalis and many other plants. It is a powerful sternutatory.

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

  • noun (Chem.) 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 Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun organic chemistry, biochemistry Any of various steroid glycosides found in plant tissues that dissolve in water to give a soapy froth.

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

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

[From Latin sāpō, sāpōn-, hair dye, of Germanic origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

sapon- + -in

Examples

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