noun \mə-ˈtab-ə-ˌliz-əm\

Definition of METABOLISM

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 <methods of determining body and tissue metabolismBulletin of the University of Kentucky>—see anabolism, catabolism b : 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>
: metamorphosis 2—usually used in combination <holometabolism>

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