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See also: ósmosis


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From "endosmose" and "exosmose", both coined by French physician Henri Dutrochet in 1826; from (respectively) Ancient Greek ἔνδον (éndon, within) and Ancient Greek ἔξω (éxō, outer, external), plus Ancient Greek ὠσμός (ōsmós, push, impulsion), from ὠθέω (ōthéō).



osmosis (countable and uncountable, plural osmoses)

  1. (chemistry) The net movement of solvent molecules, usually water, from a region of lower solute concentration to a region of higher solute concentration through a partially permeable membrane.
  2. (figurative) Passive absorption or impartation of information, habits, etc.; the act of teaching or picking up knowledge incidentally, without actually seeking that particular knowledge.
    I was reading about chickens, and I guess I learned about hawks through osmosis.
    Synonym: serendipity
    • 1999, Neil Gaiman, Stardust, 2001 Perennial paperback edition edition, pages 36-37:
      At age fourteen, by a process of osmosis, of dirty jokes, whispered secrets and filthy ballads, Tristram learned of sex.

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