Share this entry

eicosapentaenoic acid Syllabification: ei·co·sa·pen·ta·e·no·ic ac·id
Pronunciation: /ˌīkōsəˌpen(t)əˌnōik ˈasəd/

Definition of eicosapentaenoic acid in English:


A polyunsaturated fatty acid found especially in fish oils. In humans it is a metabolic precursor of prostaglandins.
Example sentences
  • Oils from deep sea fish are a rich source of omega - 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid.
  • Your brain needs long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids to function properly and two types - eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid - have come up trumps.
  • According to a new book, eicosapentaenoic acid is a substance that can ‘significantly alleviate the symptoms of depression, even in its most severe forms.’


1960s: from Greek eicosa- 'twenty' (the number of carbon atoms in the molecule) + penta- 'five' (the number of unsaturated bonds) + -ene + -oic on the pattern of methanoic.

Definition of eicosapentaenoic acid in:

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.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day coiffeur
Pronunciation: kwäˈfər
a hairdresser