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3 definitions found
 for catalyst
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  catalyst \catalyst\ n.
     1. (Chem.) a substance that initiates or accelerates a
        chemical reaction without itself being affected; as,
        thousands of enzymes serve in concert as calaysts to
        produce the sequence of reactions we call "life"; the
        industrial production of cheap ammonia depended on finding
        a good catalyst.
        [WordNet 1.5]
     2. something that serves as a precipitating occasion for an
        event; as, the invasion acted as a catalyst to unite the
     Note: A catalyst is never the main cause of an event, but may
           serve to hasten events for which the underlying causes
           are present prior to the appearance or occurrence of
           the catalyst.
           [WordNet 1.5 +PJC]
     3. something or someone that causes events to happen with
        itself being changed.

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: (chemistry) a substance that initiates or accelerates a
           chemical reaction without itself being affected [syn:
           catalyst, accelerator] [ant: anticatalyst]
      2: something that causes an important event to happen; "the
         invasion acted as a catalyst to unite the country"

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  75 Moby Thesaurus words for "catalyst":
     agent, agent provocateur, agitator, agitprop, alterant, alterative,
     alterer, author, begetter, beginner, catalysis, catalytic agent,
     causer, creator, decay, demagogue, dialysis, dissociation,
     effector, engenderer, exciter, father, ferment, firebrand, fission,
     fomenter, generator, goad, hydrolysis, hydrolyst, impetus, impulse,
     incendiary, incentive, incitation, incitement, inciter, inflamer,
     innovationist, innovator, inspirer, instigator, introducer, leaven,
     maker, mischief-maker, modificator, modifier, mother, motivation,
     mover, originator, parent, photolysis, precursor, prime mover,
     primum mobile, producer, provocateur, provoker, rabble-rouser,
     ringleader, rouser, seditionary, seditionist, sire, splitting,
     spur, stimulant, thermolysis, transformer, transmogrifier,
     troublemaker, urger, yeast

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