A solution is all about solving or dissolving. If you find an answer to a question, both the answer and how you got there is the solution. If you dissolve a solid into a liquid, you've created a different kind of solution.

This noun descends from Middle English solucion, from Old French, from Latin solutio, from solvere "to loosen." Think of solution both as a loosening of the chemical bonds that make something solid––when you loosen the structure of salt by mixing it into water, you create a solution. When you loosen the "knot" of a math problem you do the same thing––you loosen, untangle or solve it.

Primary Meanings of solution

a homogeneous mixture of two or more substances; frequently (but not necessarily) a liquid solution
a method for solving a problem
Full Definitions of solution

n a homogeneous mixture of two or more substances; frequently (but not necessarily) a liquid solution

“he used a solution of peroxide and water”
show 35 types...
hide 35 types...
a strong solution of salt and water used for pickling
aqueous solution
a solution in water
bleach liquor
a solution containing bleaching agents that is used to bleach textiles or paper pulp
buffer solution
a solution containing a buffer
a colorless syrupy solution of pyroxylin in ether and alcohol; used as a coating for wounds or photographic films
chlorine water
an aqueous solution of chlorine used as a bleaching agent
conjugate, conjugate solution
a mixture of two partially miscible liquids A and B produces two conjugate solutions: one of A in B and another of B in A
a diluted solution
a solution that conducts electricity
a liquid solution that results from elution
Fehling's solution
a liquid solution of copper sulfate and potassium tartrate and sodium hydroxide that is used to test for sugar in the urine; solution turns reddish when sugar is present
formalin, formol
a 10% solution of formaldehyde in water; used as a disinfectant or to preserve biological specimens
gargle, mouthwash
a medicated solution used for gargling and rinsing the mouth
extract, infusion
a solution obtained by steeping or soaking a substance (usually in water)
injectant, injection
any solution that is injected (as into the skin)
isosmotic solution, isotonic solution
a solution having the same osmotic pressure as blood
liquid bleach
a solution containing bleaching agents; used for laundry
a watery solution of sugars, salts, and minerals that circulates through the vascular system of a plant
primary solid solution, solid solution
a homogeneous solid that can exist over a range of component chemicals; a constituent of alloys that is formed when atoms of an element are incorporated into the crystals of a metal
sal volatile, spirits of ammonia
a solution of ammonium carbonate in ammonia water and alcohol
Gram's solution
a solution used in staining bacteria by Gram's method; consists of one part iodine and two parts potassium iodide and 300 parts water
a solution containing chemicals that can change the color of a photographic print
Bovril, beef tea
an extract of beef (given to people who are ill)
black catechu, catechu
extract of the heartwood of Acacia catechu used for dyeing and tanning and preserving fishnets and sails; formerly used medicinally
hardened sugary exudation of various trees
Ringer solution, Ringer's solution
an aqueous solution containing the chlorides of sodium and potassium and calcium that is isotonic to animal tissues; used to correct dehydration and (in physiological experiments) as a medium for in vitro preparations
saline, saline solution
an isotonic solution of sodium chloride and distilled water
an electrolyte of high molecular weight
a solid solution of ferric carbide or carbon in iron; cools to form pearlite or martensite
starting buffer
buffer solution at the start of a reaction
PBS, phosphate buffer solution
a solution containing a phosphate buffer
extract from the pancreas of animals that contains pancreatic enzymes; used to treat pancreatitis and other conditions involving insufficient pancreatic secretions
a solid solution in which alpha iron is the solvent
a solid solution of carbon in alpha-iron that is formed when steel is cooled so rapidly that the change from austenite to pearlite is suppressed; responsible for the hardness of quenched steel
double salt
a solution of two simple salts that forms a single substance on crystallization
Type of:
(chemistry) a substance consisting of two or more substances mixed together (not in fixed proportions and not with chemical bonding)

n a method for solving a problem

“the easy solution is to look it up in the handbook”
silver bullet
a simple guaranteed solution for a difficult problem
Type of:
a way of doing something, especially a systematic way; implies an orderly logical arrangement (usually in steps)

n the successful action of solving a problem

“the solution took three hours”
Type of:
an attainment that is successful

n a statement that solves a problem or explains how to solve the problem

“they were trying to find a peaceful solution
answer, resolution, result, solvent
the final resolution of the main complication of a literary or dramatic work
Type of:
a message that is stated or declared; a communication (oral or written) setting forth particulars or facts etc

n the set of values that give a true statement when substituted into an equation

Type of:
(mathematics) an abstract collection of numbers or symbols

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.