Meaning of catalyst

cat•a•lyst

Pronunciation: (kat'l-ist), [key]
— n.
  1. a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected.
  2. something that causes activity between two or more persons or forces without itself being affected.
  3. a person or thing that precipitates an event or change: His imprisonment by the government served as the catalyst that helped transform social unrest into revolution.
  4. a person whose talk, enthusiasm, or energy causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic, or energetic.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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