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[kat-ahy-uh n, -on] /ˈkætˌaɪ ən, -ɒn/

noun, Physical Chemistry.
[kat-ahy-uh n, -on] /ˈkætˌaɪ ən, -ɒn/
noun, Physical Chemistry.
a positively charged ion that is attracted to the cathode in electrolysis.
any positively charged atom or group of atoms (opposed to ).
a positively charged ion; an ion that is attracted to the cathode during electrolysis Compare anion

1834, from Greek kation “going down,” neuter present participle of katienai “to go down,” from kata “down” (see cata-) + ienai “to go” (see ion). Proposed by the Rev. William Whewell (1794-1866), English polymath, and published by English physicist Michael Faraday.

cation cat·i·on (kāt’ī’ən)
An ion or group of ions having a positive charge and characteristically moving toward the negative electrode in electrolysis.
An ion with net positive charge, having more protons than electrons. In electrolysis, cations migrate to a negatively charged cathode. Compare anion.


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