18

Is there a word that describes the property of a liquid that causes it to tend more easily to form long-lasting bubbles?

These liquids are increasing in this property:

water < milk < bubble solution < liquid soap

Viscosity or being viscous are a noun and an adjective that describe the property of a liquid/oil's thickness. I'm looking for something similar, but for the bubbly property that I'm describing.

Example usage:

  • I don't like this mouthwash. Bubbles foam out when I gargle, because it has a higher ___.

or

  • I don't like this mouthwash. Bubbles foam out when I gargle, because it's more ___.
  • 2
    Bubbles foam out when you wash peas because they are full of saponines. I suppose you could call that saponification. Or something. Just never drop the sapon. – RegDwigнt Nov 9 '15 at 14:57
  • Look at lather (noun or verb). You'll still need another word to go with it, or with anything else you find. – Robusto Nov 9 '15 at 14:59
  • 2
    You could rightfully say that the mouthwash has a lower surface tension, or that it is a better surfactant (or tensioactive). It may not sound fancy, but at least it will be physically right. – wismuthaft Nov 9 '15 at 15:13
  • 2
    Saponification is chemical reaction forming soap. – Minnow Nov 9 '15 at 17:30
  • 3
    If the bubbles are specifically caused by soap or soap-like substances, you could say the liquid is sudsy. – Nate Eldredge Nov 10 '15 at 22:34
19

You could rightfully say that the mouthwash has a lower surface tension, or that it is a better surfactant (or tensioactive). It may not sound fancy, but at least it will be physically correct.

The point is whether the bubbling has to be triggered somehow (e.g. by gargling) or not. A frothy, foamy or fizzy liquid is one that gives off bubbles spontaneously, while mouthwash or soap are not foamy as long as they're not shaken.

  • 2
    "Effervescent" is another word for liquids that bubble without being shaken. – David Richerby Nov 10 '15 at 11:02
  • 1
    Sure, but common effervescent liquids bubble because of an ongoing reaction releasing gaseous products, or because a gas already dissolved in it is set free by a change in pressure (when you open a coke can) or temperature (its solubility drops, usually by heating). I should probably change the second sentence because 'not shaken' is not enough to define a non-bubbling, non-reacting liquid. – wismuthaft Nov 10 '15 at 11:14
22

Foaming tendency

This term appears utilized in industry where material properties are critical for function. (http://www.astm.org/Standards/D892.htm)

For the first replacement:

I don't like this mouthwash. Bubbles foam out when I gurgle, because it has a higher foaming tendency.

Second one requires some shoe-horning to get it to fit the sentence.

I don't like this mouthwash. Bubbles foam out when I gurgle, because it's more likely to foam.

Reworded

I don't like this mouthwash. Bubbles foam out when I gurgle, because it has a higher tendency to foam.

11

Consider, spumescence and spumescent.

spumescent: producing or resembling foam or froth Collins English Dictionary

I don't like this mouthwash. Bubbles foam out when I gurgle, because it has a higher spumescence.

I don't like this mouthwash. Bubbles foam out when I gurgle, because it's more spumescent.

Ngram

  • 4
    You're really good at finding nominally correct words in English that no one has ever heard of. What resource do you use to search through? OED? – Mitch Nov 9 '15 at 18:18
  • So this is basically a synonym of foamy, right? – Edward Anderson Nov 9 '15 at 20:01
  • @nibus Yes, along with being a synonym of foam-producing... – Elian Nov 9 '15 at 20:15
4

While the sentences in Minnow's answer sound nicer to my ear, foamable appears to be gaining in popularity over foaming tendency.

ngram- foamable, foaming tendency

4

You could try effervescence, meaning

The bubbling of a solution due to the escape of gas. The gas may form by a chemical reaction, as in a fermenting liquid, or by coming out of solution after having been under pressure, as in a carbonated drink.

There is also a verb, effervesce, meaning

To emit small bubbles of gas, as a carbonated or fermenting liquid.

To use in your sentence:

I don't like this mouthwash. Bubbles foam out when I gargle, because it's more effervescent.

or

I don't like this mouthwash. Bubbles foam out when I gargle, because it has a higher effervescence

(or level of effervescence, not sure about the usage in that case.)

  • 5
    This seems to only apply to liquids with compressed gas, which will escape naturally. – Minnow Nov 9 '15 at 17:24
  • @ Minnow Sorry! I'm not an expert on the science side of things, just remembered hearing the word in connection with bubbles. – Jack Graveney Nov 9 '15 at 17:27
  • 2
    No apologies needed, it's a useful term in the right context. Given that this is EL&U, the OP may or may not care about scientific accuracy. – Minnow Nov 9 '15 at 17:46
  • 1
    I couldn't help wondering if, all the while we're focused on the proper terms for mouthwash bubbles, aren't we "gargling", not "gurgling"? – user146819 Nov 10 '15 at 14:58
1

Why not simple, "bubblier"

I do not like this mouthwash, it is bubblier than others.

  • 2
    The solution need not have bubbles to be able to form them. Is soap with no bubbles "bubblier" than water with some bubbles? – Minnow Nov 9 '15 at 17:07
1

Frothiness for the noun and frothy, frothier, and frothiest for the adjectives.

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