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(chemistry) Having an affinity for water; capable of interacting with water through hydrogen bonding; hygroscopic.


Hydrophilic molecules typically have polar groups enabling them to readily absorb or dissolve in water as well as in other polar solvents.

Word origin: from the Greek hydros, water and philia, friendship.

Related forms: hydrophilicity (noun), hydrophile (noun).

Compare: hydrophobic.