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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ The Pyloriset detects IgG antibodies by agglutination, using Latex particles coated with acid extracted antigen of H pylori.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Agglutination \Ag*glu`ti*na"tion\, n. [Cf. F. agglutination.]

  1. The act of uniting by glue or other tenacious substance; the state of being thus united; adhesion of parts.

  2. (Physiol.) Combination in which root words are united with little or no change of form or loss of meaning. See Agglutinative, 2.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1540s, from Latin agglutinationem (nominative agglutinatio), noun of action from past participle stem of agglutinare "fasten with glue," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + glutinare "to glue," from gluten "glue," from PIE *glei- (see glue (n.)). Philological sense first recorded 1650s, in agglutinative.


n. 1 The act of uniting by glue or other tenacious substance; the state of being thus united; adhesion of parts. 2 Combination in which root words are united with little or no change of form or loss of meaning. See agglutinative. 3 The clumping together of red blood cells or bacteria, usually in response to a particular antibody.

  1. n. a clumping of bacteria or red cells when held together by antibodies (agglutinins)

  2. the building of words from component morphemes that retain their form and meaning in the process of combining

  3. the coalescing of small particles that are suspended in solution; these larger masses are then (usually) precipitated [syn: agglutinating activity]


Agglutination is a process in linguistic morphology derivation in which complex words are formed by stringing together morphemes without changing them in spelling or phonetics. Languages that use agglutination widely are called agglutinative languages. An example of such a language is Turkish, where for example, the word evlerinizden, or "from your houses," consists of the morphemes, ev-ler-iniz-den with the meanings house-plural-your-from.

Agglutinative languages are often contrasted both with languages in which syntactic structure is expressed solely by means of word order and auxiliary words ( isolating languages) and with languages in which a single affix typically expresses several syntactic categories and a single category may be expressed by several different affixes (as is the case in inflectional (fusional) languages). However, both fusional and isolating languages may use agglutination in the most-often-used constructs, and use agglutination heavily in certain contexts, such as word derivation. This is the case in English, which has an agglutinated plural marker -(e)s and derived words such as shame·less·ness.

Agglutinative suffixes are often inserted irrespective of syllabic boundaries, for example, by adding a consonant to the syllable coda as in English tie – ties. Agglutinative languages also have large inventories of enclitics, which can be and are separated from the word root by native speakers in daily usage.

Note that the term agglutination is sometimes used more generally to refer to the morphological process of adding suffixes or other morphemes to the base of a word. This is treated in more detail in the section on other uses of the term.

Agglutination (biology)

Agglutination is the clumping of particles. The word agglutination comes from the Latinagglutinare (glueing to).

Agglutination occurs if an antigen is mixed with its corresponding antibody called isoagglutinin. This term is commonly used in blood grouping.

This occurs in biology in three main examples:

  1. The clumping of cells such as bacteria or red blood cells in the presence of an antibody or complement. The antibody or other molecule binds multiple particles and joins them, creating a large complex. This increases the efficacy of microbial elimination by phagocytosis as large clumps of bacteria can be eliminated in one pass, versus the elimination of single microbial antigens. Another example occurs when people are given blood transfusions of the wrong blood group.
  2. The coalescing of small particles that are suspended in a solution; these larger masses are then (usually) precipitated.

Usage examples of "agglutination".

But the fat was still there, hiding, scrambled-egg agglutinations of cholesterol.

The patient died the fourth day after the operation, from peritonitis, and an autopsy showed the perforation and agglutination of the two intestinal curvatures.

Max Mueller goes further, and asserts that what is called the process of agglutination in the Turanian languages is the same as what has been named polysynthesis in America.

It is not polysynthetic, at any rate, not more so than French, and its words undergo no such alteration by agglutination as in Aztec and Algonkin.

It becomes a club-footed cripple, its feet adherent by agglutination or fusion to a rock or other and larger mollusc, dead or alive.

Formless protoplasm able to mock and reflect all forms and organs and processes - viscous agglutinations of bubbling cells - rubbery fifteen-foot spheroids infinitely plastic and ductile - slaves of suggestion, builders of cities - more and more sullen, more and more intelligent, more and more amphibious, more and more imitative!