Webster 1828 Edition



Definition 2023





synthetic (comparative more synthetic, superlative most synthetic)

  1. Of, or relating to synthesis.
  2. (chemistry) Produced by synthesis instead of being isolated from a natural source (but may be identical to a product so obtained).
    • 2013 August 10, A new prescription”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8848:
      As the world's drug habit shows, governments are failing in their quest to monitor every London window-box and Andean hillside for banned plants. But even that Sisyphean task looks easy next to the fight against synthetic drugs. No sooner has a drug been blacklisted than chemists adjust their recipe and start churning out a subtly different one.
  3. Artificial, not genuine.
  4. (grammar) Pertaining to the joining of bound morphemes in a word. Compare analytic.

Derived terms



synthetic (plural synthetics)

  1. A synthetic compound.
    • 2007 January 14, Elsa Brenner, “Art House to Get a Campus”, in New York Times:
      Only plastics and synthetics that cannot be recycled will end up in landfills, he said.