bil·​i·​ru·​bin | \ ˌbi-li-ˈrü-bən How to pronounce bilirubin (audio) , ˈbi-li-ˌrü-\

Definition of bilirubin

: a reddish-yellow water-insoluble pigment C33H36N4O6 that is formed by the breakdown of heme, is excreted in a water-soluble form by liver cells into bile, and occurs in blood and urine especially in diseased states — see jaundice

Examples of bilirubin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The blue light, explained Benes, decreases the level of bilirubin and helps yellowish bruises disappear faster. Cindy Krischer Goodman,, "Cool new health wearables do everything from killing head lice to curing incontinence," 2 July 2019 This action can cause itchiness, possibly due to the bilirubin building up in the skin. Ratika Gupta, SELF, "An Allergist Explains Why You Might Be Itchy All Over, Even Though You Don’t Have a Rash," 13 Sep. 2018 Those issues included abnormal levels of liver enzymes and bilirubin (a compound usually excreted by the liver). Korin Miller, SELF, "Turmeric Supplements May Have Caused This Woman's Liver Disease," 24 Sep. 2018 The new algorithm also analyzed advanced biomarkers such as the levels of creatinine and bilirubin in the blood, which can offer clues about underlying infection. Ian Haydon,, "Working to save lives, Philly physicians find way to help patients confront death," 26 June 2018 Biliverdin can kill cells, destroy neurons and kill cells, which is why human livers attempt to filter out bilirubin as quickly as possible. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "Green-Blooded Lizards Live With a Pigment That Should Kill Them," 20 May 2018 Gruber says eels fluoresce when one molecule, called bilirubin, interacts with another molecule. National Geographic, "See Amazing Ocean Creatures That ‘Glow’," 11 June 2018 But the patient’s bilirubin was one and a half times the normal level. Lisa Sanders, M.d., New York Times, "Why Wouldn’t the Lump Under the Patient’s Jaw Go Away?," 18 Apr. 2018 Humans with elevated bilirubin, Greenfieldboyce reports, have some added protection against malaria parasites. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "These Lizards Evolved Toxic Green Blood," 17 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bilirubin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bilirubin

1871, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bilirubin

Latin bilis + ruber red — more at red

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Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

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The first known use of bilirubin was in 1871

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More Definitions for bilirubin


bil·​i·​ru·​bin | \ ˌbil-i-ˈrü-bən, ˈbil-i-ˌ How to pronounce bilirubin (audio) \

Medical Definition of bilirubin

: a reddish-yellow, crystalline, water-insoluble pigment C33H36N4O6 that is formed by the breakdown of heme, is excreted in a water-soluble conjugated form by liver cells into bile, and occurs in blood and urine especially in diseased states (such as cirrhosis, gallstones, and hemolytic anemia) … they may become jaundiced, their skin tinged yellow by the release of the pigment bilirubin from their damaged liver.— Larry Thompson, Discover, March 1994

More from Merriam-Webster on bilirubin

Britannica English: Translation of bilirubin for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bilirubin

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something desired as essential

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