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Meaning of surface tension

sur'face ten'sion

Pronunciation: [key]
— Physics. Physics.
  1. the elasticlike force existing in the surface of a body, esp. a liquid, tending to minimize the area of the surface, caused by asymmetries in the intermolecular forces between surface molecules.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.