The Collaborative International Dictionary
Mercerize \Mer"cer*ize\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. -ized; p. pr. & vb. n. -izing.] [From (John) Mercer (1791-1866), an English calico printer who introduced the process + -ize.] To treat (cotton fiber or fabrics) with a solution of caustic alkali. Such treatment causes the fiber to shrink in length and become stronger and more receptive of dyes. If the yarn or cloth is kept under tension during the process, it assumes a silky luster. -- Mer`cer*i*za"tion, n.
alt. To treat cotton fabric with sodium hydroxide to make it more lustrous and accepting of dyes. vb. To treat cotton fabric with sodium hydroxide to make it more lustrous and accepting of dyes.
v. treat to strengthen and improve the luster; "mercerize cotton" [syn: mercerise]
Usage examples of "mercerize".
However, longer-fiber cottons are easier to mercerize than short-fiber ones, and the cotton available down-time is the shortest-fiber species.
Few will remember the mercerized cotton thread that could be snapped between fists.