Analyte” is the term that is usually universally understood and is listed in IUPAC Gold Book:

analyte The component of a system to be analysed.

However, recently I stumbled upon the word “analyate”. Initially I thought of it being a typo or an erroneous translation (I'm not a native English speaker), but upon inspection of the literature sources it turned out be used in cited publications in the context similar to the term “analyte” (emphasis mine):

  • McMaster's LC/MS: a practical user's guide (323 citations) [1, pp. 2, 16]:

    The mass analyzer is quickly overwhelmed by the signal from the solvent if the HPLC output is introduced directly into the mass spectrometer. The analyate signal is buried beneath this solvent signal avalanche. […] The HPLC solvent gradient used to resolve closely eluting HPLC peaks and decrease HPLC run times also produces solvent composition changes that further complicate the solvent-masking effect of analyate signal.


    The purpose of an interface is twofold. It must remove as much solvent as possible without losing the analyate, and it must volatilize and ionize its components for submission to the analyzer.

    At the same time in the textbook the term “analyte” is utilized on p. 61:

    The ionized analyte ions formed in the interface between the HPLC and the mass spectrometer cannot survive collision with air molecules in the analyzer.

    … and on p. 151:

    Gas chromatography. A separation technique in which the volatile analyte is swept by a carrier gas down a column packed with packing coated with an absorbing liquid.

  • Zhao and Swager (272 citations) [2, p. 9379]:

    It is informative to investigate the fluorescence quenching activities of P1-3 in solution. Conducting these studies in chloroform, a good solvent, allows us to evaluate the responses of individual polymer chains and the relative analyate affinities to the polymers under these conditions.

  • Patent US20050137471A1 (182 citations) [3]:

    The Signals are processed in a processing unit to calculate the concentration of the analyate.

  • DeLouise et al. (146 citations) [4, p. 3224]:

    It also simplifies quantitation of the optical response relative to competitive techniques based on evanescent waves where the signal response decays exponentially from the surface causing sensitivity to depend on the surface-analyate distance.

  • Hart et al. (130 citations) [5, p. 461]:

    It was found that as structural similarity between the imprint molecule and the analyate molecule diminishes, both retention and selectivity decrease.


    Making a relatively small perturbation to the analyate by removing the aromatic hydroxyl group results in a lower, but still significant, separation factor of $α = 2.5.$

… and many more other less cited papers, over 250 in total over 1887–2019 time span according to Google Scholar (I used Harzing's PoP software for query). So, is there a difference between the terms “analyte” and “analyate”? If they are not fully interchangeable, then what exactly “analyate” is, or in what context its usage is more appropriate?


  1. McMaster, M. C. LC/MS: A Practical User’s Guide; John Wiley: Hoboken, N.J, 2005. ISBN 978-0-471-65531-2.
  2. Zhao, D.; Swager, T. M. Sensory Responses in Solution vs Solid State:  A Fluorescence Quenching Study of Poly(Iptycenebutadiynylene)s. Macromolecules 2005, 38 (22), 9377–9384. https://doi.org/10.1021/ma051584y.
  3. Haar, H.-P.; List, H.; Baader, F.; Harttig, H.; Meacham, G. Continuous Glucose Monitoring Device. US20050137471A1, June 23, 2005. (PDF)
  4. DeLouise, L. A.; Kou, P. M.; Miller, B. L. Cross-Correlation of Optical Microcavity Biosensor Response with Immobilized Enzyme Activity. Insights into Biosensor Sensitivity. Anal. Chem. 2005, 77 (10), 3222–3230. https://doi.org/10.1021/ac048144+.
  5. Hart, B. R.; Rush, D. J.; Shea, K. J. Discrimination between Enantiomers of Structurally Related Molecules:  Separation of Benzodiazepines by Molecularly Imprinted Polymers. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2000, 122 (3), 460–465. https://doi.org/10.1021/ja9926313.
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    $\begingroup$ In my opinion it is,. although recurrent in your examples, just a typo or a mistake of the writer. $\endgroup$
    – Alchimista
    Dec 2, 2019 at 10:46

1 Answer 1


The unabridged Oxford English Dictionary, available by subscription, is the ultimate source to confirm the usages of English words. I checked the word "analyate" and it does not exist in the entire dictionary. The word analyte is also very recent (mid 1950s). I am not surprised that wrong spellings are published in high-end journals. If you study the statistics of wrong references, that is even more shocking. How many times it has happened that you check a citation and it turns out that the citation never mentioned anything like that.

Here is an excerpt from the OED

Origin: Apparently formed within English, by compounding. Etymons: analyse v., -lyte comb. form. Etymology: Apparently < ana- (in analyse v.) + -lyte comb. form, perhaps after electrolyte n. Chemistry. Categories »

A substance that is analysed or determined, esp. quantitatively.

1955 C. M. Crawford in Chem. & Engin. News 5 Dec. 5262/2 There is not, as far as I am aware, any short word denoting ‘the substance being analysed for’ in use... My proposal is that the word ‘analyte’ be understood to convey the above meaning.

  • $\begingroup$ Yep, I also got a similar idea by looking at the Google Ngram for both terms. "Analyate" isn't a known term, but there is a little change it's been used so rarely Google classifies it as an outlier. $\endgroup$
    – andselisk
    Dec 2, 2019 at 16:39

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