Slightly silly question! Intuitively I want the present-simple verb for sorption to be "sorps", but saying it out loud, "sorbs" sounds much more natural. However, Google doesn't turn anything up for either of these, and they both make me sound like a redneck.

Since it definitely does not seem to be used often, it seems like the best choice would be to fall back to "adsorb" or "absorb", but I was wondering if there was a verb for the generalized sorption because it is a word I would like to use! Thanks.


Yes, not surprisingly, the verb for sorption is sorb. It has been used for > 100 years in physical chemistry.

Here are the early references from the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary (by subscription only) so I cannot give you a link.

. transitive. To collect by sorption. Also absol.

1909 J. W. McBain in London, Edinb. & Dublin Philos. Mag. 6th Ser. 18 918 An idea of the quality of the carbon employed may be obtained from the amount of gas sorbed by it in actual experiment.

1938 Proc. Royal Soc. A. 167 407 The two zeolites in the form of three-dimensional networks sorb ammonia copiously without ammoniate formation.

1954 P. Alexander & R. F. Hudson Wool viii. 261 When wool is immersed in hydrogen peroxide, some is initially sorbed by the amino and imino groups without reaction.

1970 New Scientist 2 July 9/3 Papers with inked designs sorb best on the inked areas.

1972 Physics Bull. Oct. 583/1 This has the advantage that exhausted water vapour is not sorbed by the trap on the fine side of the pump.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you! For some reason I could not find any official reference to it. $\endgroup$ – dotto May 27 at 19:25
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    $\begingroup$ The most authentic reference is the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary. It is a paid access. I am copying the references for you in the main answer. $\endgroup$ – M. Farooq May 27 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ Would be better to spell OED out. You did it in the comments, but they are not meant to last. $\endgroup$ – Ruslan May 28 at 12:40

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