What does detergent mean?

Definitions for detergent
dɪˈtɜr dʒəntde·ter·gent

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word detergent.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. detergentnoun

    a surface-active chemical widely used in industry and laundering

  2. detergentadjective

    a cleansing agent that differs from soap but can also emulsify oils and hold dirt in suspension

  3. detergent, detersiveadjective

    having cleansing power


  1. detergentnoun

    Any non-soap cleaning agent, especially a synthetic surfactant.

  2. detergentadjective

    Having the power to clean.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Detergentadjective

    That which cleanses.

    Etymology: from deterge.

    The food ought to be nourishing and detergent. Arbuthnot.


  1. Detergent

    A detergent is a surfactant or a mixture of surfactants with cleansing properties when in dilute solutions. There are a large variety of detergents, a common family being the alkylbenzene sulfonates, which are soap-like compounds that are more soluble in hard water, because the polar sulfonate (of detergents) is less likely than the polar carboxylate (of soap) to bind to calcium and other ions found in hard water.


  1. detergent

    A detergent is a type of cleaning agent used to remove dirt, grime, stains, and other impurities from surfaces. It contains chemicals that break down or dissolve these impurities, making them easier to wash away with water. Detergents are commonly used in household cleaning, laundry, dishwashing, and personal hygiene products such as shampoos and body washes.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Detergentadjective

    cleansing; purging

  2. Detergentnoun

    a substance which cleanses the skin, as water or soap; a medicine to cleanse wounds, ulcers, etc

  3. Etymology: [L. detergens, -entis, p. pr. of detergere: cf. F. dtergent.]


  1. Detergent

    A detergent is a surfactant or a mixture of surfactants with "cleaning properties in dilute solutions." These substances are usually alkylbenzenesulfonates, a family of compounds that are similar to soap but are more soluble in hard water, because the polar sulfonate is less likely than the polar carboxyl to bind to calcium and other ions found in hard water. In most household contexts, the term detergent by itself refers specifically to laundry detergent or dish detergent, as opposed to hand soap or other types of cleaning agents. Detergents are commonly available as powders or concentrated solutions. Detergents, like soaps, work because they are amphiphilic: partly hydrophilic and partly hydrophobic. Their dual nature facilitates the mixture of hydrophobic compounds with water. Because air is not hydrophilic, detergents are also foaming agents to varying degrees.

Editors Contribution

  1. detergent

    A type of product.

    There are a wide variety of detergent on the market and they come in various forms eg. capsule, liquid, powder etc.

    Submitted by MaryC on August 13, 2015  

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of detergent in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of detergent in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of detergent in a Sentence

  1. Corey Simpson:

    If you are using a standard detergent, be sure to give the jacket an extra rinse cycle to ensure a residue-free garment.

  2. Vincent Hill:

    In most situations, cleaning surfaces using soap or detergent, and not disinfecting, is enough to reduce the already low risk of virus transmission through surfaces, disinfecting surfaces is typically not necessary, unless a sick person or someone positive for Covid-19 has been in the home within the last 24 hours.

  3. Jen Luciana:

    It’s recommended to hand wash your bra in cold water with a gentle detergent or baby shampoo.

  4. Melissa Piliang:

    I like a hypoallergenic detergent, one that’s made for sensitive skin, free of dyes or perfumes.

  5. Karen Burka:

    A lot of advertisers lined up to throw money at this stuff because they were caught up in the hysteria about the Web. But now they want to know how you make money selling a 1.59 bottle of dish detergent on the World Wide Web.

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Translations for detergent

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"detergent." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 15 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/detergent>.

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    the state of being polluted
    A subrogation
    B macron
    C defilement
    D calcaneus

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