Meaning of “chemical” in the English Dictionary

"chemical" in British English

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chemicalnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈkem.ɪ.kəl/ us /ˈkem.ɪ.kəl/

B2 any basic substance that is used in or produced by a reaction involving changes to atoms or molecules:

The government has pledged to reduce the amount of chemicals used in food production.
Each year, factories release millions of tons of toxic (= poisonous) chemicals into the atmosphere.

More examples

  • They use special chemicals to accelerate the growth of crops.
  • Organic chemicals are used in the manufacture of plastics, fibres, solvents and paints.
  • The body produces chemicals that are natural painkillers.
  • Toxic chemicals continue to be dumped in the North Sea.
  • Many chemicals have a damaging effect on the environment.

chemicaladjective

uk /ˈkem.ɪ.kəl/ us /ˈkem.ɪ.kəl/

B2 relating to chemicals:

The chemical industry produces such things as petrochemicals, drugs, and rubber.

More examples

  • Sodium chloride is the chemical name for common salt.
  • All chemical weapons facilities will be deactivated.
  • Estimates of the amount of money needed to decontaminate the heavily polluted chemical installations vary.
  • We had to learn chemical formulae at school, but I can only remember H2O for water.
  • The chemical properties of coal are still incompletely understood.
chemically
adverb uk /ˈkem.ɪ.kəl.i/ us /ˈkem.ɪ.kəl.i/

(Definition of “chemical” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"chemical" in American English

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chemicalnoun [ C ]

us /ˈkem·ɪ·kəl/

any basic substance that is used in or produced by a reaction involving changes to atoms or molecules:

His business manufactured farm chemicals.

chemicaladjective

us /ˈkem·ɪ·kəl/

of, involved with, relating to, or made by using chemicals or chemistry:

the chemical industry
a chemical plant producing plastics and rubber
chemically
adverb us /ˈkem·ɪk·li/

chemically treated paper

(Definition of “chemical” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"chemical" in Business English

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chemicalnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈkemɪkəl/ us

any basic substance which is used in or produced by a reaction involving changes to atoms or molecules:

The government has pledged to reduce the amount of chemicals used in food production.
Each year, factories release millions of tonnes of toxic chemicals into the atmosphere.

chemicaladjective

uk /ˈkemɪkəl/ us

relating to chemicals:

The chemical industry produces such things as petrochemicals, drugs, paint, and rubber.
chemically
adverb

(Definition of “chemical” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)