Definition of keratin in English:

Share this entry

keratin

Pronunciation: /ˈkerədən/

noun

A fibrous protein forming the main structural constituent of hair, feathers, hoofs, claws, horns, etc.
Example sentences
  • Cells are laced with a network of fibres more rigid than the rope-like structural proteins collagen and keratin.
  • Amino acids are absorbed by the body to help build keratin, the main protein in hair.
  • Cat claws are made of keratin, a protein also found in human nails.

Origin

Mid 19th century: from Greek keras, kerat- 'horn' + -in1.

More
  • rhinoceros from Late Middle English:

    It is the look of the rhinoceros that provides its name, which comes from Greek rhino- ‘nose’ and keras ‘horn’. The animal has been known in English since the end of the 14th century, but the first reference to it calls it a kind of unicorn. Rhino- will be familiar to gardeners from the antirrhinum (mid 16th century), the alternative name for the snapdragon, whose name means ‘counterfeiting a nose’ from its appearance, while keras appears in keratin (mid 19th century), the substance from which horn is made.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ker·a·tin

Share this entry
 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.