A hypothetical weakly-interacting → boson of small mass required by models of → particle physics in order to solve the strong CP problem and explain a number of observed astrophysical/cosmological phenomena, including → dark matter, and the dimming of → type Ia → supernovae (→ accelerating Universe). Photons traveling in the → intergalactic medium would in part turn into axions in the presence of magnetic fields. The transformed photons are not detected on Earth and therefore supernovae would appear fainter even if the Universe is not accelerating.
Axion, first coined by Frank Wilczek (2004 Nobel Prize in Physics) apparently after a brand of washing detergent! The reason seems to be the idea that the particle will iron out a wrinkle in the → standard model of fundamental particles and forces while solving the problem of the Universe's → missing mass.