anaerobic

adjective

an·​aer·​o·​bic ˌa-nə-ˈrō-bik How to pronounce anaerobic (audio) ˌan-ˌer-ˈō- How to pronounce anaerobic (audio)
1
a
: living, active, occurring, or existing in the absence of free oxygen
anaerobic respiration
anaerobic bacteria
b
: of, relating to, or being activity in which the body incurs an oxygen debt
anaerobic exercise
2
: relating to or induced by anaerobes
anaerobically adverb

Did you know?

In Greek, the prefix a- or an- means "not" or "without", and bios means "life". Anaerobic sports and exercise, such as gymnastics, weight lifting, and sprinting, are of high intensity but short duration, so they don't involve much oxygen intake. Anaerobic exercise triggers a different type of cell activity from aerobic exercise. As a result, it doesn't do much for your heart and lungs and it doesn't burn off fat; what it does do is build muscle. Anaerobic bacteria are bacteria that live without oxygen. They're responsible for several nasty conditions, including tetanus, gangrene, botulism, and food poisoning. They often live in deep wounds, so a bad dog bite—or, even worse, a human bite—can be dangerous, since the mouth is full of anaerobic bacteria. But most anaerobic bacteria are harmless, and many are essential to our lives.

Examples of anaerobic in a Sentence

Weight lifting is an anaerobic exercise. Some bacteria are aerobic and others are anaerobic.
Recent Examples on the Web In landfills, where those same materials would be buried, they are broken down by anaerobic microorganisms, creating methane. Nicole Blanchard, Idaho Statesman, 9 Apr. 2024 In Protest Trump Defeats Haley In Michigan Republican Primary—On Track To Clinch Nomination Next Month ‘Shogun’ Episode 1 ‘Anjin’ Review: A Captivating Series Premiere Liquid wastes are suitable for conversion to biogas through anaerobic digestion of livestock waste and wastewater. Wood MacKenzie, Forbes, 28 Feb. 2024 Common examples of anaerobic exercise include weightlifting, sprinting, powerlifting, medicine ball drops and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Daryl Austin, USA TODAY, 5 Feb. 2024 Around 4 in 5 people produce hydrogen during this anaerobic digestion process, and a breath test can be used to assess the degree to which their dairy consumption has stimulated their gut flora. Max Bennett, Discover Magazine, 29 Jan. 2024 Likewise, periods of drought will affect calcium absorptions, as well as soils which are distinctly anaerobic (no oxygen). Marlene Simon, Sacramento Bee, 31 Jan. 2024 Here, practices matter a great deal, as some composting techniques allow the material to become oxygen-free, which results in the anaerobic production of methane. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 23 Jan. 2024 Using a process called anaerobic digestion, the remaining food waste is combined with bacteria to turn it into renewable natural gas, which can be used to produce electricity, heat homes, or power vehicles. Aaron Pressman, BostonGlobe.com, 1 Mar. 2023 When taken before exercise, caffeine-containing pre-workout supplements may improve anaerobic power output without impacting muscular strength. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 17 Oct. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'anaerobic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1877, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of anaerobic was in 1877

Dictionary Entries Near anaerobic

Cite this Entry

“Anaerobic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anaerobic. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

anaerobic

adjective
an·​aer·​o·​bic ˌan-ə-ˈrō-bik How to pronounce anaerobic (audio)
ˌan-ˌa-(ə-)ˈrō-,
-ˌe-(ə-)ˈrō-
: living, active, or occurring in the absence of free oxygen
anaerobic bacteria
anaerobically
ˌan-ə-ˈrō-bi-k(ə-)lē How to pronounce anaerobic (audio)
ˌan-ˌa-(ə-)ˈrō-
-ˌe-(ə-)ˈro-
adverb

Medical Definition

anaerobic

adjective
1
a
: living, active, or occurring in the absence of free oxygen
during heavy exercise anaerobic respiration occurs, pyruvic acid acts as a hydrogen acceptor, and lactic acid builds up in the tissues
anaerobic bacteria
b(1)
: of, relating to, or being activity in which the body incurs an oxygen debt
an anaerobic workout
Anaerobic activities like sprinting and weight lifting, on the other hand, burn carbohydrates without using oxygen …Jane E. Brody, The New York Times
(2)
: of or relating to the body's ability to incur an oxygen debt
Your anaerobic threshold is basically how long you can last without breathing (your lungs working in oxygen debt) while, say, sprinting or going as hard as you can on a bike or in the pool.Bob Condor, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
2
: relating to or induced by anaerobes
anaerobically adverb

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