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

  • n. A surface-active substance.
  • n. A substance composed of lipoprotein that is secreted by the alveolar cells of the lung and serves to maintain the stability of pulmonary tissue by reducing the surface tension of fluids that coat the lung.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A surface active agent, or wetting agent, capable of reducing the surface tension of a liquid; typically organic compounds having a hydrophilic "head" and a hydrophobic "tail".
  • n. A lipoprotein in the tissues of the lung that reduces surface tension and permits more efficient gas transport.

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

  • n. a chemical agent capable of reducing the surface tension of a liquid in which it is dissolved


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

surf(ace)-act(ive) + a(ge)nt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

surface-active agent


  • Synthetic surfactant is used to help immature lungs rest and heal.


  • Dr. Avery ultimately identified a mix of fat and proteins in the lungs that came to be called surfactant.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Thanks to the March of Dimes, a substance called surfactant had been developed that helped a premature baby's undeveloped lungs work.

    Inside TV Blog

  • One educational way to employ a magnet to use it to purify water that has been contaminated with a surfactant, which is a material that can lower the surface tension in water.

    eHow - Health How To's

  • = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = Oxycyte oxygen carrier is a perfluorocarbon emulsified with water and a surfactant, which is provided to the patient intravenously.

  • Doctors had to give Cowan an emergency C-section and put the infant on a breathing tube, using a method called surfactant therapy, to allow Sara to breathe.

    Desert Dispatch : Top Story

  • They are encased in water using a surfactant, which is similar to soap, and then spun in a centrifuge.

    Scientific Blogging

  • Your baby’s lungs mature, too, and begin to produce a substance called surfactant, which helps the tiny alveoli air sacs stay inflated after birth.

    The Official Lamaze® Guide

  • A "surfactant," technically, is a type of wetting agent that lowers surface tension between liquids - but we recognize surfactants more commonly in such products as dishwashing detergent or shampoo.

    Science Blog

  • In addition, Midwifes are not able to intervene correctly in Emergency situations, and can only provide improvised care until an EMS unit arrives - no cardiac monitor, no ventilator, no ability to place advanced lines and do advanced IV therapy and advanced medications such as surfactant on the neonate and it's impossible outside of an isolette to provide a thermoregulatory environment for a critically ill neonate, and conditions such as gastroschesis, oomphalacele, diaphragmatic hernia, CHD, and others can be undetected until the baby is born.

    Original Signal - Transmitting Buzz


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  • Me too. I love the tongue-tapping 't' at the end.

    June 11, 2008

  • I like this word.

    June 11, 2008

  • I should think the difficulty of pronouncing it such would inconvenience you more than the pain of hearing it would me.

    June 11, 2008

  • I'll pronounce it suTTTTTT, just to annoy you.

    June 10, 2008

  • I prefer it silent. But then, I have professor-worship issues: however they say, goes.

    June 10, 2008

  • I pronounce myself also a pronouncer.

    June 4, 2008

  • I pronounce it.

    June 4, 2008

  • (SURF)ace (ACT)ive (A)ge(NT)

    No one seems to pronounce a /t/ at the end, leaving the ending closer to the /In/ seen in so many hormones.

    June 3, 2008