endorphin

noun

en·​dor·​phin en-ˈdȯr-fən How to pronounce endorphin (audio)
: any of a group of endogenous peptides (such as enkephalin) found especially in the brain that bind chiefly to opiate receptors and produce some pharmacological effects (such as pain relief) like those of opiates
specifically : beta-endorphin

Did you know?

The word endorphin was coined, back when the substances were discovered in the 1970s, by joining pieces of endogenous and morphine, morphine being a narcotic that closely resembles the endorphins and relieves pain in a similar way. Studies suggest that the pain-relieving practice called acupuncture works by releasing endorphins. Endorphins also seem to play an important role in pregnancy. Though much remains to be learned about the endorphins, the general public seems ready to give them credit for any all-natural high.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web For one thing, the endorphin and adrenaline rush that comes with a good scaring can produce a natural high. Stephanie H. Murray, The Week, 11 Oct. 2022 During that first pandemic winter, the routine and endorphin-generating vigor of skating at the outdoor rink were critical in lifting our family’s spirits, giving us purpose and a place to see friends. Washington Post, 11 Feb. 2022 Everyone has a ritual when faced with the endorphin-rushing visuals of a perfectly ripe fruit, the scent of natural sugars wafting about. New York Times, 7 June 2021 An orgasm is the release of all that tension, plus a rush of an endorphin called serotonin that spills into your blood stream. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, 29 Sep. 2020 There’s just something about dancing that gets those endorphins moving. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, 17 Apr. 2020 Chewing and licking release endorphins in a dog’s brain making him or her more content and happier. Cathy M. Rosenthal, ExpressNews.com, 1 May 2020 Exercising releases endorphins that boost your mood and reduce your overall stress. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, 24 Apr. 2020 Laughing gets endorphins flowing, and comedy often comes cheaper than other forms of live entertainment. Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping, 26 Mar. 2020 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

International Scientific Vocabulary endogenous + morphine

First Known Use

1976, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of endorphin was in 1976

Dictionary Entries Near endorphin

Cite this Entry

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

Medical Definition

endorphin

noun
en·​dor·​phin en-ˈdȯr-fən How to pronounce endorphin (audio)
: any of a group of endogenous peptides (as enkephalin and dynorphin) found especially in the brain that bind chiefly to opiate receptors and produce some of the same pharmacological effects (as pain relief) as those of opiates
specifically : beta-endorphin

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