chitin

noun

chi·​tin ˈkī-tᵊn How to pronounce chitin (audio)
: a horny polysaccharide (C8H13NO5)n that forms part of the hard outer integument especially of insects, arachnids, and crustaceans
chitinous
ˈkī-tᵊn-əs How to pronounce chitin (audio)
ˈkīt-nəs
adjective

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Loron’s team also identified fibrous chitin in their cell walls. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 15 Dec. 2019 It’s made of fibres of chitin, the same substance that makes up most of the mantis shrimp’s shell. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 7 June 2012 Each salt-baked crab was neatly quartered into segments, the delicate crunch of chitin and fresh green chili giving way to fleeting bits of sweet flesh. Hannah Goldfield, The New Yorker, 7 Oct. 2022 Over the years, scientists have mined chitin from crustacean shells for everything from tissue engineering to making biodegradable plastic. Miriam Fauzia, Popular Mechanics, 8 Sep. 2022 And while no one so far has attempted synthesizing chitin in the lab, who knows what the future might hold. Miriam Fauzia, Popular Mechanics, 8 Sep. 2022 In nature, scales of chitin (a polysaccharide common to insects) are arranged like roof tiles. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 2 Aug. 2022 Because these waste converters are insects, their larvae contain the biopolymer chitin, and that could be pulled out for the $65 billion market for its uses in paper, textiles, skin products, biomedicines and even dissolving bandages. Steven Savage, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 Spider exoskeletons are made of chitin (composed of long polymers with carbon units), along with proteins and glycoproteins, and those biopolymers are well-suited for sulfurization. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 26 Apr. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

French chitine, from Greek chitōn

First Known Use

circa 1839, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chitin was circa 1839

Dictionary Entries Near chitin

Cite this Entry

“Chitin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chitin. Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

chitin

noun
chi·​tin ˈkīt-ᵊn How to pronounce chitin (audio)
: a horny substance that forms part of the hard outer body covering especially of insects and crustaceans
chitinous
ˈkīt-ᵊn-əs How to pronounce chitin (audio)
ˈkīt-nəs
adjective

Medical Definition

chitin

noun
chi·​tin ˈkīt-ᵊn How to pronounce chitin (audio)
: a horny polysaccharide that forms part of the hard outer integument especially of insects, arachnids, and crustaceans
chitinous adjective

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