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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Players have to sublimate their egos for the good of the team.
▪ I must learn to sublimate my desire for my own perch by feeling happy for Aunt Louise sitting there.
▪ In this respect his predatory instincts were sublimated for the welfare of family and community.
▪ It was the 1950s, and we were poor and chaste, and we sublimated furiously.
▪ Nurses are no longer expected to sublimate their feelings behind starchy officiousness as has been the case in the not so distant past.
▪ Once again, I felt that if I did not somehow sublimate my pain, I should be irretrievably lost.
▪ One method whereby the aggressive and destructive energies of mankind are sublimated is through work.
▪ Writers like Yamamoto and Yamauchi and even Mori do not so fully sublimate their losses.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Sublimate \Sub"li*mate\, a. [LL. sublimatus.] Brought into a state of vapor by heat, and again condensed as a solid.


Sublimate \Sub"li*mate\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Sublimated; p. pr. & vb. n. Sublimating.] [L. sublimatus, p. p. of sublimare to raise, elevate, fr. sublimis high: cf. F. sublimer. See Sublime, a., and cf. Surlime, v. t.]

  1. To bring by heat into the state of vapor, which, on cooling, returns again to the solid state; as, to sublimate sulphur or camphor.

  2. To refine and exalt; to heighten; to elevate.

    The precepts of Christianity are . . . so apt to cleanse and sublimate the more gross and corrupt.
    --Dr. H. More.

  3. (Psychology) To redirect the energy (of sexual or other biological drives) into a more socially acceptable or constructive form.


Sublimate \Sub"li*mate\, n. [LL. sublimatum.] (Chem.) A product obtained by sublimation; hence, also, a purified product so obtained.

Corrosive sublimate. (Chem.) mercuric chloride. See Corrosive sublimate under Corrosive.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1590s, "raise to a high place," back-formation from sublimation or else from Medieval Latin sublimatus, past participle of sublimare "to lift up." The word was used in English from 1560s as a past participle adjective meaning "purified, refined by sublimation." Chemical/alchemical sense of "heat a solid into vapor and allow it to cool again" as a way of extracting a pure substance from dross is from c.1600. Related: Sublimated; sublimating. As a noun from 1620s.


n. (context chemistry English) A product obtained by sublimation. vb. 1 (context ambitransitive physics English) To change state from a solid to a gas (or from a gas to a solid) without passing through the liquid state. 2 To purify or refine a substance through such a change of state. 3 (context transitive psychoanalysis English) To modify the natural expression of a sexual or primitive instinct in a socially acceptable manner; to divert the energy of such an instinct into some acceptable activity. 4 (context archaic English) To raise to a place of honor; to refine and exalt; to heighten; to elevate.


adj. made pure [syn: purified, refined]

  1. n. the product of vaporization of a solid

  2. v. direct energy or urges into useful activities

  3. make more subtle or refined [syn: rarefy, subtilize]

  4. remove impurities from, increase the concentration of, and separate through the process of distillation; "purify the water" [syn: purify, make pure, distill]

  5. change or cause to change directly from a solid into a vapor without first melting; "sublime iodine"; "some salts sublime when heated" [syn: sublime]

  6. vaporize and then condense right back again [syn: sublime]

Usage examples of "sublimate".

The similar colour produced by sulpho-cyanide of potassium and perchloride of iron is discharged by chloride of gold and corrosive sublimate.

This develops a blood-red colour with perchloride of iron, bleached by corrosive sublimate.

Colibri is a moderately complex cocktail, and the metabolic systems of sublimated quasi-life are straight off the drawing-board, so I doubt if they were ever formally introduced in the lab.

It was, in short, the ultimate, sublimated expression of a monopolistic theory made effective in a charter.

Intercommunal violence would not be suppressed, or sublimated, but stimulated and fumed to counterinsurgent purpose.

Stalin, whose historical determinants found themselves grounded in nature, sublimated under the name of Genius, that is, something irrational and inexpressible: here, depoliticization is evident, it fully reveals the presence of a myth.

If mercury is found, the contents of the stomach may be dialyzed, the resulting clear fluid concentrated and shaken with ether, which has the power of taking corrosive sublimate up, and thus separating it from arsenic and other metallic poisons.

Suppose no mercury is found in the dialyzed fluid, owing to the fact that corrosive sublimate enters into insoluble compounds with albumin, fibrin, mucous membrane, gluten, tannic acid, etc.

I never really enjoyed as long as I stayed in Liverpool, where it seemed to be that the quintessence of nasal and hand-shaking Yankeedom was gradually filtered and sublimated through my consulate, on the way outward and homeward.

He was careless of his ulcers, neglected to sublimate them, and by uncontrolled scratching spread them all over his body.

Becoming sexually aroused at the sight of two individuals locked in a coital embrace, yet knowing that he himself was incapable of performing sexually drove him to satisfy and sublimate his sexual feelings in an act of violence which, in a secondary sense enabled him to punish those who accomplished what he could not.

For it is only at the level of the fourth chakra that specifically human, as distinct from sublimated animal, aims and drives become envisioned and awakened.

Fresh water, the proper lotions and a conviction that he was not diseased have improved the state of his skin remarkably, but the effects of this intolerable deal of sublimate remains.

I don't want to introduce a solemn note now but as a psychologist and as a professional in guidance I know what can happen in a life which lacks what I call the Faith Focus, and there's nobody more pleased than I -- and I know here that I speak for Dutchy too -- that Pearlie has found herself, and that all those doubts and fears and misgivings are sublimated in that vast Power the happiness of which is something upon which Dutchy and I feel ourselves peculiar­ly qualified to speak.

Unfortunately, this factor in his personality, which he might have sublimated harmlessly by becoming a social worker, was complicated by unresolved Oedipal hostilities and a reaction formation in favor of 'spying,' which led him to become a policeman.