cholesterol

noun

cho·​les·​ter·​ol kə-ˈle-stə-ˌrȯl How to pronounce cholesterol (audio)
-ˌrōl
: a waxy, fat-like substance C27H46O that is found in the cells, tissues, and body fluids of humans and animals and that serves as a component of cell membranes and functions as a precursor of vitamin D and steroid hormones (such as cortisol and estrogen)

Note: Cholesterol is produced primarily in the liver and is also derived from dietary sources (such as meat, eggs, and dairy products). It is carried in the bloodstream in the form of lipoproteins, and as a constituent of LDL it may contribute to arterial plaque formation leading to atherosclerosis.

The liver uses cholesterol to produce bile acids, which emulsify fats in the small intestine so they can be more readily absorbed and digested.Deane Morrison
Doctors use statins to treat high cholesterol in patients whose condition has not responded to a treatment of dietary changes.Joseph Gerstein
In many cases, the flow of oxygen-bearing blood is hindered by a buildup of cholesterol in the coronary arteries …Michael Waldholz et al.
Despite being much maligned in the popular press, cholesterol plays a crucial role in organizing cell membranes and controlling their physical properties.Amanda Yarnell
see also bad cholesterol, good cholesterol

Examples of cholesterol in a Sentence

Did your doctor check your cholesterol?
Recent Examples on the Web According to the Mayo Clinic, coronary heart disease is a common heart condition that occurs when a person's coronary arteries become filled with cholesterol deposits and plaque. Charlotte Phillipp, Peoplemag, 29 Mar. 2024 The research, published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention, & Health, also found that participants had lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels at the end of the three-month period. Sarah Garone, Health, 29 Mar. 2024 Additionally, milk thistle may reduce cholesterol, lower blood sugar in people with diabetes, and serve as a complementary therapy to cancer treatment. Allison Futterman, Discover Magazine, 14 Mar. 2024 Carotid arteries, which lie on each side of the neck and carry blood to the brain, can become clogged with fatty cholesterol plaques in a similar fashion as the arteries leading into the heart, a process known as atherosclerosis. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 6 Mar. 2024 Because cholesterol is important for several bodily functions, the body does not rely on getting a minimal daily amount of cholesterol in your diet. Bryant Stamford, The Courier-Journal, 29 Feb. 2024 The first was Amy, a diabetic mother whose A1C, cholesterol and liver enzymes have all reached normal levels since losing a significant amount of weight on Mounjaro. Brande Victorian, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 Mar. 2024 The exams, which can vary by president, typically include blood and urine panels, which test for things like cholesterol and glucose. Brendan Rascius, Miami Herald, 29 Feb. 2024 This measures total cholesterol; low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol; high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, cholesterol; and triglycerides, another type of fat that hardens the arteries and mainly comes from food. Knvul Sheikh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Feb. 2024

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

Word History

Etymology

International Scientific Vocabulary, from chol- + Greek stereos solid

First Known Use

1894, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cholesterol was in 1894

Dictionary Entries Near cholesterol

Cite this Entry

“Cholesterol.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cholesterol. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

cholesterol

noun
cho·​les·​ter·​ol kə-ˈles-tə-ˌrōl How to pronounce cholesterol (audio)
-ˌrȯl
: a waxy substance that is present in animal cells and tissues, is important in bodily processes, and may be related to the abnormal thickening and hardening of arteries when too much is present

Medical Definition

cholesterol

noun
cho·​les·​ter·​ol kə-ˈles-tə-ˌrōl, -ˌrȯl How to pronounce cholesterol (audio)
: a waxy, fat-like steroid alcohol C27H46O that is found in the cells, tissues, and body fluids of humans and animals, serves as a component of cell membranes and functions as a precursor of vitamin D and steroid hormones, and as a constituent of LDL may contribute to arterial plaque formation leading to atherosclerosis

Note: Cholesterol is produced primarily in the liver and is also derived from dietary sources (such as meat, eggs, and dairy products). It is carried in the bloodstream in the form of lipoproteins.

Cholesterol is a lipid present in the cell membrane and subcellular organelles of tissues throughout the body. … In addition, cholesterol serves as the building block for all steroid hormones including cortisol, aldosterone, estrogen, and testosterone.Sarah de Ferranti and David S. Ludwig, The New England Journal of Medicine
… the drug reduces the production of cholesterol in the liver, decreasing the amount of artery-clogging cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream.Newsweek

More from Merriam-Webster on cholesterol

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