Physical chemistry: Describing a substance that is capable of undergoing a change in phase (as from a liquid to a gas), with no change in chemical composition. If the substance is hylotropic over a limited range of pressure and temperatures, it is a pure chemical substance. If it is hylotropic over all pressure and temperatures except the most extreme ones, it is a → chemical element. See also → hylotrope.
First suggested by Wilhelm Ostwald (1904, in Annalen der Naturphilosophie 3, 355), from Gk. hylo-, combining form of hyle "matter; wood," because of the dependence on the composition, + → -tropic.