Definition of linolenic acid in English:

linolenic acid

Line breaks: lino|len¦ic acid
Pronunciation: /ˌlɪnə(ʊ)ˈlɛnɪk
, -ˈliːnɪk/


[mass noun] Chemistry
  • A polyunsaturated fatty acid (with one more double bond than linoleic acid) present as a glyceride in linseed and other oils and essential in the human diet.
    • Chemical formula: C17H29COOH; several isomers, notably gamma-linolenic acid, present in evening primrose oil
    More example sentences
    • Sources of the essential fatty acid linolenic acid are soybean oil, canola oil, walnuts and flaxseed.
    • Linoleic and linolenic acid are essential fatty acids that are needed to make critical compounds in the body.
    • Since plants are capable of synthesizing linoleic and linolenic acid humans can acquire these fats by consuming a variety of plants or else by eating the meat of animals that have consumed these plant fats.


late 19th century: from German Linolensaüre, from Linolsaüre 'linoleic acid', with the insertion of -en- (from -ene).

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