I am looking for a word which would mean "not an isolated substance". I would use "blend" or "mixture", but these would imply that the components where isolated in the first place and then blended together, while I would like the word to describe mostly things which where never isolated in the first place, for example fish oil vs. isolated docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, it is what the fish oil is consumed for).

Wikipedia writes about "mixture":

In chemistry, a mixture is a material system made up of two or more different substances which are mixed but are not combined chemically.

but calling fish oil a mixture (although theoretically perfectly right) seems slightly misleading if its pure fish oil, isolated from one type of fish, not mixed by humans with anything, just not isolated down to a single chemical substance (like Docosahexaenoic acid - DHA).

Is there a synonym to "mixture" which would not suggest the wrong idea, and perfectly convey the message I want to underline when talking for example about fish oil vs. isolated DHA?

Edit: This word is to be used as a category label, so there is no sentence around it. This category would list various products (like fish oil, Pycnogenol, chlorella, bentonite clay, essential oils) which are not a single, isolated chemical substance, but either a naturally occurring or man-made "mixture" of chemical elements. From the category name it should be obvious that isolated substances (like ascorbic acid) are NOT in that category, and not imply anything about whether the "mixture" is natural or man-made.

  • Could you not just call it a biological extract which contains DHA?
    – Charon
    Commented Aug 1, 2015 at 8:55
  • It always helps if you can give a sample sentence with a blank where the word would go. This provides vital context. Could you add that to your question please? Thanks. Commented Aug 1, 2015 at 9:16
  • Mixture is the correct word for these things (Elements, Compounds & Mixtures). I presume you have discounted all synonyms of mixture before asking. I think we'll be very hard-pressed to find another word for it, and especially one that isn't misleading by having a technical meaning or common usage contrary to what you are trying to say.
    – Avon
    Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 17:19

4 Answers 4



1A thing that is composed of two or more separate elements; a mixture:


  • 1
    In chemistry specifically, "compound" means a single substance characterized by chemical bonds between atoms of multiple elements, whereas the question seems to be asking about a mixture of multiple substances.
    – hemflit
    Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 13:33

Compared to isolated DHA, natural fish oil.... Would work in some cases despite the overuse of natural in the context of nutrition.

Otherwise you may need to be more specific: the fish oil, as extracted... (there may be a better word in your context than extracted but it's a good general choice). In a similar vein before purification... is another way to slightly reword.


You might call the substance a conglomerate

1. a thing consisting of a number of different and distinct parts or items that are grouped together.


To the best of my knowledge it doesn't have any contradictory meaning in chemistry but it does have a very specific meaning in geology: that might be an issue.

  • conglomerate is too generic in the quoted meaning of the word. Have you ever seen this word being used to describe matter like butter or coconut oil? Google shows exactly 1 result for "butter is a conglomerate". Theoretically acceptable, but I am looking for a word more commonly used in that context.
    – lowtoxin
    Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 16:44
  • @OmegaTerus OK. Good luck with that.
    – Avon
    Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 17:15

I think mixture is as generic as you're going to get. You could use solution, but technically, that is a specific type of mixture.

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