Mer·cer·ize v. t. [imp. & p. p. -ized p. pr. & vb. n. -izing ] To treat (cotton fiber or fabrics) with a solution of caustic alkali. Such treatment causes the fiber to shrink in length and become stronger and more receptive of dyes. If the yarn or cloth is kept under tension during the process, it assumes a silky luster. -- Mer*cer*i*za*tion n.
v : treat to strengthen and improve the luster; "mercerize
cotton" [syn: mercerise]