[oz-moh-sis, os-] /ɒzˈmoʊ sɪs, ɒs-/

Physical Chemistry, Cell Biology.

a subtle or gradual absorption or mingling:
He never studies but seems to learn by osmosis.
/ɒzˈməʊsɪs; ɒs-/
the passage of a solvent through a semipermeable membrane from a less concentrated to a more concentrated solution until both solutions are of the same concentration
diffusion through any membrane or porous barrier, as in dialysis
gradual or unconscious assimilation or adoption, as of ideas

1867, Latinized from osmose (1854), shortened from endosmosis (1830s), from endosmose “inward passage of a fluid through a porous septum” (1829), from French endo- “inward” + Greek osmos “a thrusting, a pushing,” from stem of othein “to push, to thrust,” from PIE *wedhe- “to push, strike” (cf. Sanskrit vadhati “pushes, strikes, destroys,” Avestan vadaya- “to repulse”). Figurative sense is from 1900. Related: Osmotic (1854, from earlier endosmotic).

osmosis os·mo·sis (ŏz-mō’sĭs, ŏs-)
n. pl. os·mo·ses (-sēz)

os·mot’ic (-mŏt’ĭk) adj.

The movement of a solvent through a membrane separating two solutions of different concentrations. The solvent from the side of weaker concentration usually moves to the side of the stronger concentration, diluting it, until the concentrations of the solutions are equal on both sides of the membrane. ◇ The pressure exerted by the molecules of the solvent on the membrane they pass through is called osmotic pressure. Osmotic pressure is the energy driving osmosis and is important for living organisms because it allows water and nutrients dissolved in water to pass through cell membranes.
osmosis [(ahz-moh-sis, ahs-moh-sis)]

The seeping of a fluid through a seemingly solid barrier, such as a cell wall or a rubber sheet. When the concentration of the fluid is the same on both sides of the barrier, osmosis stops.

Note: 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.”


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  • Osmotic shock

    osmotic shock n. The rupture of bacterial or other cells in a solution following a sudden reduction in osmotic pressure; it is sometimes induced to release cellular components for biochemical analysis.

  • Osmous

    [oz-mee-uh s] /ˈɒz mi əs/ adjective, Chemistry. 1. of or containing in its lower valences. /ˈɒzməs/ adjective 1. of or containing osmium in a low valence state, esp the divalent state Also osmious /ˈɒzmɪəs/ adjective 1. another word for osmous

  • Osmund

    [oz-muh nd, os-] /ˈɒz mənd, ˈɒs-/ noun 1. any fern of the genus Osmunda, especially the royal fern. [oz-muh nd, os-] /ˈɒz mənd, ˈɒs-/ noun 1. a superior quality of iron, formerly used for fishhooks, arrowheads, etc.

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