Definition of tryptophan in English:


Syllabification: tryp·to·phan
Pronunciation: /ˈtriptəˌfan


  • An amino acid that is a constituent of most proteins. It is an essential nutrient in the diet of vertebrates.
    • An indole derivative; chemical formula: C8H6NCH2CH(NH2)COOH
    More example sentences
    • Key essential amino acids are valine, leucine, isoleucine, tryptophan and methionine.
    • Two known enzymes catabolize the essential amino acid tryptophan in mammals.
    • For example, eggs are high in alanine and methionine; whey protein is high in tryptophan and threonine.


late 19th century: from tryptic 'relating to trypsin' + Greek phainein 'appear'.

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