A solvent is a liquid that dissolves a solute. The solvent is the component of a solution that is present in greater amount.
Perhaps the most common solvent in everyday life is water. Many other solvents are organic compounds, such as benzene, tetrachloroethylene, or turpentine.
In chemistry, a common rule for determining if a solvent will dissolve a given solute is "like dissolves like." Solvents composed of polar molecules, such as water, dissolve other polar molecules, such as table salt, while nonpolar solvents, such as gasoline, dissolve nonpolar substances such as wax. The degree that a solvent dissolves a given solute is known as its solubility. Ethyl alcohol is highly soluble in water, for example. Vinegar is very insoluble in oil, and the two substances will quickly separate into two layers even after being shaken well.