any substance that is surface-active
Origin of surfactantsurf(ace-)act(ive agent) + -ant
- A surface-active substance.
- 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.
Origin of surfactantsurf(ace)-act(ive) a(ge)nt
- (chemistry) 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".
- (biochemistry) A lipoprotein in the tissues of the lung that reduces surface tension and permits more efficient gas transport.