Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

metabolism

play
noun me·tab·o·lism \mə-ˈta-bə-ˌli-zəm\

Simple Definition of metabolism

  • biology : the chemical processes by which a plant or an animal uses food, water, etc., to grow and heal and to make energy

Full Definition of metabolism

  1. 1 a :  the sum of the processes in the buildup and destruction of protoplasm; specifically :  the chemical changes in living cells by which energy is provided for vital processes and activities and new material is assimilated b :  the sum of the processes by which a particular substance is handled in the living body c :  the sum of the metabolic activities taking place in a particular environment <the metabolism of a lake>

  2. 2 :  metamorphosis 2 —usually used in combination <holometabolism>

Examples of metabolism

  1. studying the metabolisms of various organisms



Origin of metabolism

International Scientific Vocabulary, from Greek metabolē change, from metaballein to change, from meta- + ballein to throw — more at devil


First Known Use: 1878

Other Biochemistry Terms

Rhymes with metabolism

absenteeism, absolutism, abstractionism, adventurism, aestheticism, Afrocentrism, agnosticism, alcoholism, amateurism, anabaptism, anachronism, Anglicanism, animalism, antagonism, Arianism, astigmatism, athleticism, automatism, behaviorism, Big Brotherism, bilingualism, Bonapartism, cannibalism, capitalism, Cartesianism, Catholicism, charlatanism, collectivism, commercialism, communalism, Confucianism, conservatism, constructivism, consumerism, corporatism, creationism, determinism, do-nothingism, eclecticism, ecotourism, ecumenism, egocentrism, empiricism, epicurism, eroticism, essentialism, ethnocentrism, evangelism, exoticism, expansionism, expressionism, Fabianism, factionalism, fanaticism, favoritism, federalism, Fenianism, feuilletonism, Fourierism, fraternalism, Freudianism, funambulism, functionalism, hermeticism, Hispanicism, historicism, hooliganism, illiberalism, illusionism, impressionism, infantilism, inflationism, initialism, insularism, irredentism, Jacobinism, Keynesianism, know-nothingism, lesbianism, liberalism, libertinism, literalism, Lutheranism, Lysenkoism, magic realism, malapropism, mercantilism, messianism, metamorphism, militarism, minimalism, monasticism, monotheism, mutualism, naturalism, Naziritism, negativism, neologism, neo-Nazism, neorealism, nominalism, nonconformism, objectivism, obscurantism, obstructionism, opportunism, pacificism, parallelism, pastoralism, paternalism, patriotism, Peeping Tomism, perfectionism, photo-realism, plebeianism, polytheism, positivism, postmodernism, primitivism, progressivism, protectionism, Protestantism, provincialism, puritanism, radicalism, rationalism, recidivism, reductionism, regionalism, relativism, revisionism, revivalism, ritualism, romanticism, salvationism, sansculottism, scholasticism, sectionalism, secularism, separatism, serialism, Slavophilism, somnambulism, Stakhanovism, structuralism, subjectivism, teetotalism, theocentrism, triumphalism, Uncle Tomism, ventriloquism, vigilantism, workaholism


METABOLISM Defined for Kids

metabolism

play
noun me·tab·o·lism \mə-ˈta-bə-ˌli-zəm\

Definition of metabolism

  1. :  the processes by which a living organism uses food to obtain energy and build tissue and disposes of waste material




Medical Dictionary

metabolism

play
noun me·tab·o·lism \mə-ˈtab-ə-ˌliz-əm\

Medical Definition of metabolism

  1. 1a:  the sum of the processes in the buildup and destruction of protoplasm; specifically :  the chemical changes in living cells by which energy is provided for vital processes and activities and new material is assimilated <methods of determining body and tissue metabolismBulletin of the University of Kentucky>—see anabolism, catabolismb:  the sum of the processes by which a particular substance is handled (as by assimilation and incorporation or by detoxification and excretion) in the living body <the metabolism of iodine in the thyroid>

  2. 2:  metamorphosis 2—usually used in combination <holometabolism>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up metabolism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

196.5 pounds 16.96 pounds 2.2 pounds 100 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ