That Word You Heard: Thixotropic

It all comes together once you shake it.

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Illustration by Chad Edwards

Ketchup fan? Then you know you’ve got to shake that bottle of your favorite brand before you squeeze it onto your food of choice. Otherwise, you’ll be met with a watery mess followed by some gunky globs. That’s because ketchup — along with a whole host of other substances ranging from clay face masks to printing inks — is thixotropic. When it sits too long, lonely and unused on a diner table or in the dark abyss that is your refrigerator, the concoction separates and the tomato-y part thickens up, becoming more viscous. But when you shake it, everything mixes back up, thins out, and you’re good to go.

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