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catalyst

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noun
  • a substance that accelerates the rate of a chemical reaction without itself changing; a person or thing that causes change [Princeton Review]
  • substance that speeds up a chemical reaction without itself changing [Barron]
    1. something that causes activity between two or more persons or forces without itself being affected
    2. a person or thing that precipitates an event or change: His imprisonment by the government served as the catalyst that helped transform social unrest into revolution
    3. a person whose talk, enthusiasm, or energy causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic, or energetic
    [Webster]

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