1834; the name was introduced by Faraday on the suggestion of the Rev. William Whewell (1794-1866), English polymath, from electro- + Greek lysis "a loosening," from lyein "to loosen, set free" (from PIE root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart"). Originally of tumors, later (1879) of hair removal. Related: electrolytic.
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