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Aerate vs Ventilate vs Oxygenate vs Carbonate

Aerate is the general term and interchangeable in certain phrases with any of the others; the last three are specific terms which are not freely interchangeable with each other. Aerate means to supply or impregnate with air or to expose to the action of air. It frequently implies a mechanical process.

  • aerate soil by plowing
  • aerate sewage by agitation in fresh air

It sometimes, however, implies a natural process.

  • the blood is aerated in the lungs

Ventilate is commonly used when exposure to air especially in large quantities with the object of purifying, freshening, or cooling is implied.

  • ventilate a room by opening windows
  • ventilate an engine by means of holes in its covering
  • the patient is unable adequately to ventilate himself with air because air cannot be easily drawn through the air passages, the caliber of which has been diminished by the disease

It may be indistinguishable from aerate when applied to the blood but usually suggests rather the exposure to air and aerate the resulting gaseous exchange.

More exact than either in this relation is oxygenate since it is the oxygen in the air that is required by the blood.

Technically aerate and carbonate are not synonyms, for the latter means to impregnate with carbon dioxide but they may overlap when aerate is used broadly with the meaning to impregnate with a gas; hence, aerate or especially aerated is used in certain designations where carbonated would correctly describe the process.

  • as aerated water or aerated bread