(2) A chemical reaction wherein a water molecule (HOH) and a reactant exchange functional groups resulting in two end products, one containing the hydrogen cation (H) and the other the hydroxyl anion (OH). An example is the chemical reaction of water with the ions of salt resulting in the formation of an acid and a base, one or both of which is only slightly dissociated.
Word origin: Gk. hydor = water + lyein = to loosen, dissolve.
Related forms: hydrolytic (adjective), hydrolyze (verb).
See also: water.