A solute is a substance which is dissolved in a solvent to make a solution; a common example is sugar. Sugar added to water, which is the solvent in this case, dissolves into sugar water.
Generally, there is more solvent that solute in a solution. An illustration of this principle is iced tea; it is easier to dissolve a small amount of tea (the solute) in a large amount of water (the solvent) than the other way around. The most familiar types of solutions are liquid. Tap water is a solution in which the solvent is water and the solutes are salts, magnesium and chlorine, which have all dissolved in the water through natural or man-made processes. Solvents and solutes can be solid as well. For example, 14-karat gold is a solid solution in which the solvent is pure gold and the solutes are nickel, palladium or copper.