bil·​i·​ver·​din ˌbi-li-ˈvər-dᵊn How to pronounce biliverdin (audio)
: a green pigment that occurs in bile and is an intermediate in the degradation of hemoglobin heme groups to bilirubin

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The substance making these little reptiles viridescent is biliverdin, a pigment that triggers jaundice in humans. Corryn Wetzel, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Oct. 2020 Green-blooded skinks have 20 times more biliverdin in their bodies than the highest level of the chemical ever found in a human—and for that person, the quantity was fatal. Corryn Wetzel, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Oct. 2020 The strange pigmentation is believed to occur when pale puppies come in contact with biliverdin in their mother's wound, according to Reuters. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, 22 Oct. 2020 When red cells die, the body converts the hemoglobin down into somewhat less toxic compounds including the green pigment biliverdin. Quanta Magazine, 22 Apr. 2019 Hundreds of malaria parasites infect lizards, and some studies have shown that biliverdin can block the growth of the parasite that causes the illness, as well as killing infected red blood cells. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, 20 May 2018 The liver then gathers them and takes out the iron, creating the green waste product biliverdin, which is later transformed further into yellow bilirubin. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, 17 May 2018 Their current, admittedly speculative, hypothesis is that the biliverdin-rich blood protects against parasites. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, 17 May 2018 The high concentrations of the green bile pigment biliverdin in the blood overwhelms the crimson color of red blood cells resulting in a lime-green coloration of the muscles, bones, and mucosal tissues. Fox News, 16 May 2018 See More

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

Word History


Swedish, from Latin bilis + obsolete French verd green

First Known Use

1845, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of biliverdin was in 1845

Dictionary Entries Near biliverdin

Cite this Entry

“Biliverdin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

Medical Definition


bil·​i·​ver·​din ˌbil-i-ˈvərd-ᵊn, ˈbil-i-ˌ How to pronounce biliverdin (audio)
: a green pigment C33H34N4O6 that occurs in bile and is an intermediate in the degradation of hemoglobin heme groups to bilirubin
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