cat·​a·​bol·​ic | \ ˌka-tə-ˈbä-lik How to pronounce catabolic (audio) \

Definition of catabolic

: marked by or promoting metabolic activity concerned with the breakdown of complex molecules (such as proteins or lipids) and the release of energy within the organism : relating to, characterized by, or stimulating catabolism If the anabolic and catabolic processes are in balance, tissue remains intact and good health is sustained.— Paul Clayton The energy deficit that the contestants have been running since the first day is now catching up with them, and their bodies have become catabolic (preferentially feeding off their own muscle and fat stores to fuel critical metabolic and cellular processes).— Alice Park

Other Words from catabolic

catabolically \ ˌka-​tə-​ˈbä-​li-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce catabolically (audio) \ adverb
… the brain needs glucose as the source of energy and it cannot utilize fatty acids or amino acids catabolically. — Miland Watve

First Known Use of catabolic

1887, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for catabolic

earlier katabolic, from kata- cata- + (meta)bolic

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Time Traveler for catabolic

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The first known use of catabolic was in 1887

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Cite this Entry

“Catabolic.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 13 December 2019.

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More Definitions for catabolic


variants: also katabolic \ ˌkat-​ə-​ˈbäl-​ik How to pronounce katabolic (audio) \

Medical Definition of catabolic

: of or relating to catabolism

Other Words from catabolic

catabolically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce catabolically (audio) \ adverb

Comments on catabolic

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


easily led, controlled, or managed

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