- Osmosis is defined as the distribution of liquid with a low concentration flowing through a membrane into an area with a higher concentration resulting in the concentrations being equal on both sides.
An example of osmosis is when red blood cells, which have a high concentration of protein and salt, are placed in a lower concentration fluid like water, the water will rush into the red blood cells.
- Osmosis is gradual absorption.
An example of osmosis is slowly learning how to sew after sitting next to an experience seamstress.
- the tendency of a solvent to pass through a semipermeable membrane, as the wall of a living cell, into a solution of higher concentration, so as to equalize concentrations on both sides of the membrane
- the diffusion of fluids through a membrane or porous partition
- an apparently effortless absorption of ideas, feelings, attitudes, etc., as if by biological osmosis
Origin: ModL, ultimately from Glassical Greek ōsmos, impulse from ōthein, to push from Indo-European base an unverified form wedh-, to push, strike from source Sanskrit vádhar-, deadly weapon
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
noun pl. os·mo·ses
- a. 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.b. The tendency of fluids to diffuse in such a manner.
- A gradual, often unconscious process of assimilation or absorption: learned French by osmosis while residing in Paris for 15 years.
Origin: From obsolete osmose, from earlier endosmose, from French : Greek endo-, endo- + Greek ōsmos, thrust, push (from ōthein, to push).
- os·motˈic adjective
- os·motˈi·cal·ly adverb
osmosis - Cultural Definition
- Informally, “osmosis” is the process by which information or concepts come to a person without conscious effort: “Living in Paris, he learned French slang by osmosis.”
osmosis - Medical Definition
noun pl. os·mo·ses
- Diffusion of fluid through a semipermeable membrane until there is an equal concentration of fluid on both sides of the membrane.
- The tendency of fluids to diffuse in such a manner.
- osmotic adjective
osmosis - Science Definition
left: The concentration of sugar molecules is greater on the right side of the membrane than on the left. The water molecules are small enough to move across the membrane, but the larger sugar molecules cannot pass through.
right: The water molecules move across the membrane until the water and sugar molecules are of equal concentration on both sides. This lowers the water level on the left side and raises it on the right side.
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