1. Pâte ou composition obtenue par l'action d'un alcali sur un corps gras et qui sert ŕ se laver, ŕ blanchir le linge, ŕ nettoyer, ŕ dégraisser.
2. Un savon : un morceau de ce produit.
3. (Populaire) Sévère réprimande. Prendre un savon.
ETYM Old Eng. sope, as. sâpe.
Mixture of the sodium salts of various fatty acids: palmitic, stearic, and oleic acid. It is made by the action of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) or potassium hydroxide (caustic potash) on fats of animal or vegetable origin. Soap makes grease and dirt disperse in water in a similar manner to a detergent.
Soap was mentioned by Galen in the 2nd century for washing the body, although the Romans seem to have washed with a mixture of sand and oil. Soap was manufactured in Britain from the 14th century, but better-quality soap was imported from Castile or Venice. The Soapmakers' Company, London, was incorporated 1638. Soap was taxed in England from the time of Cromwell in the 17th century to 1853.
A cleansing agent made from the salts of vegetable or animal fats.