Osmosis is the scientific process of transferring fluid between molecules. When molecules move in and out of a cell to achieve the same concentration of something, like salt, on both sides, then osmosis is happening.

Osmos means "thrusting or pushing," and the scientific process of osmosis happens when fluid in a super-concentrated area thrusts through little holes in the cell's wall and heads for a less concentrated place. The fluid might go back and forth a few times until both solutions are equally concentrated. We also use osmosis outside of science to mean "subtle, gradual absorption of information." Fall asleep to enough Western movies, and by osmosis, you will eventually become a real cowboy.

Definitions of osmosis
  1. noun
    (biology, chemistry) diffusion of molecules through a semipermeable membrane from a place of higher concentration to a place of lower concentration until the concentration on both sides is equal
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    reverse osmosis
    (chemistry) a method of producing pure water; a solvent passes through a semipermeable membrane in a direction opposite to that for natural osmosis when it is subjected to a hydrostatic pressure greater than the osmotic pressure
    type of:
    (physics) the process in which there is movement of a substance from an area of high concentration of that substance to an area of lower concentration
  2. noun
    the gradual and unconscious absorption of knowledge or ideas
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    type of:
    acculturation, assimilation
    the process of assimilating new ideas into an existing cognitive structure
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