ETYM Latin solvens, p. pr. of solvere. Related to Solvable.
Capable of meeting financial obligations.
Commerce, able to pay debts; Chemistry, dissolving.
Solution capable of dissolving a solute.
A liquid substance capable of dissolving other substances; SYN. dissolvent, dissolver, dissolving agent, resolvent, thinner, dilutant.
Substance, usually a liquid, that will dissolve another substance (see solution). Although the commonest solvent is water, in popular use the term refers to low-boiling-point organic liquids, which are harmful if used in a confined space. They can give rise to respiratory problems, liver damage, and neurological complaints.
Typical organic solvents are petroleum distillates (in glues), xylol (in paints), alcohols (for synthetic and natural resins such as shellac), esters (in lacquers, including nail polish), ketones (in cellulose lacquers and resins), and chlorinated hydrocarbons (as paint stripper and dry-cleaning fluids). The fumes of some solvents, when inhaled (glue-sniffing), affect mood and perception. In addition to damaging the brain and lungs, repeated inhalation of solvent from a plastic bag can cause death by asphyxia.