noun (alkal, ies, pl2=alkalis)
Etymology: French alcali, ultimately fr. Ar. alqalÄ ashes of the plant saltwort, fr. qalay to roast in a pan, fry.
- Soda ash; caustic soda, caustic potash, etc.
- (Chemistry) One of a class of caustic bases, such as soda, potash, ammonia, and lithia, whose distinguishing peculiarities are solubility in alcohol and water, uniting with oils and fats to form soap, neutralizing and forming salts with acids, turning to brown several vegetable yellows, and changing reddened litmus to blue.
- (Western United States) Soluble mineral matter, other than common salt, contained in soils of natural waters.
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