Definition of enkephalin in English:


Line breaks: en|keph|alin
Pronunciation: /ɛnˈkɛf(ə)lɪn
(also encephalin)


  • Either of two peptide compounds occurring naturally in the brain, related to the endorphins and having similar physiological effects.
    More example sentences
    • Within a few years, researchers had isolated two classes of peptide molecules, the enkephalins and the endorphins.
    • Belief and expectation, cardinal components of hope, can block pain by releasing the brain's endorphins and enkephalins, thereby mimicking the effect of morphine.
    • Endorphin and enkephalins are released, creating a euphoric effect.


1970s: from Greek enkephalos 'brain' (from en- 'in' + kephalē 'head') + -in1.

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