Share this entry

Share this page

metabolism

Syllabification: me·tab·o·lism
Pronunciation: /məˈtabəˌlizəm
 
/

Definition of metabolism in English:

noun

The chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life.

Two kinds of metabolism are often distinguished: constructive metabolism, the synthesis of the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats that form tissue and store energy, and destructive metabolism, the breakdown of complex substances and the consequent production of energy and waste matter

Example sentences
  • Altered carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism leads to a catabolic state.
  • It is also known that peroxisomal metabolism is lower in fish than in mammals.
  • In addition to carbohydrate metabolism, other processes were affected by stress.

Origin

late 19th century: from Greek metabolē 'change' (from metaballein 'to change') + -ism.

More
  • midwife from (Middle English):

    The original sense of midwife seems to have been ‘a woman who is with the mother’. Mid- here is not connected to middle, but is an old word meaning ‘with’ that is related to Greek meta ‘with’, which appears in English words beginning meta-, such as metabolism (late 19th century), metaphorical (mid 16th century), and metaphysics (mid 16th century). ‘A woman’ (rather than ‘a married woman’) is the oldest sense of wife, still used in Scotland.

Definition of metabolism in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day emulous
Pronunciation: ˈɛmjʊləs
adjective
seeking to emulate someone or something