1580s, from Latin, from Greek dialysis "dissolution, separation" (of the disbanding of troops, a divorce, etc.), from dialyein "dissolve, separate," from dia- "apart" + lyein "loosen" (from PIE root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart"). Used originally in logic and grammar; chemistry sense is first recorded 1861, medicine 1914. Related: Dialytic.
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