en·​dor·​phin | \ en-ˈdȯr-fən How to pronounce endorphin (audio) \

Definition of endorphin

: 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

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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.

Examples of endorphin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But doing something physical helps my endorphins and gets me balanced. John Wenzel, The Know, "“Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness has nothing to prove — except in comedy," 20 June 2019 The brain can release endorphins, a natural pain reliever. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The benefits of meditation when you’re sick or in pain," 17 June 2019 Put simply, genital stimulation—orgasm or no orgasm—lowers the bad (the stress hormone cortisol) and heightens the good (endorphins) triggering that rush and release feeling. Haley Swanson, Glamour, "6 Benefits of Female Masturbation That Will Convince You to Do it More," 30 May 2019 Laughter stimulates the body’s organs by increasing oxygen intake to the heart, lungs and muscles, and stimulates the brain to release more endorphins, according to the Mayo Clinic. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Is laughter really the best medicine? In many ways, that’s no joke.," 15 June 2019 This is likely due to a boost in endorphins, mood- enhancing chemicals in your body, and because exercise increases the flow of a different happy-inducing neurotransmitter. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "12 Celebrities Who Talk About Mental Health," 10 Oct. 2018 Acupressure mats are flat, cushioned rectangles with tiny spikes all over them, which are designed to stimulate pressure points in the neck and back as well as promote a healthy release of endorphins in the brain. Maria Cassano, Allure, "The 7 Top-Reviewed Acupressure Mats You Can Buy on Amazon," 27 Aug. 2018 Experts aren’t quite sure why exercise may help ward off migraines in some people, but there’s a lot of curiosity around physical activity’s ability to modulate a person’s pain response through endorphins or other influences. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, "Yes, Your Workouts Could Actually Be Triggering Your Migraines," 23 June 2018 Interestingly, the higher the levels of endorphins that were present, the more euphoric the jumper reported feeling. Richard Stephens, Smithsonian, "The History and Psychology of Roller Coasters," 12 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of endorphin

1976, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for endorphin

International Scientific Vocabulary endogenous + morphine

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Statistics for endorphin

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for endorphin

The first known use of endorphin was in 1976

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More Definitions for endorphin


en·​dor·​phin | \ en-ˈdȯr-fən How to pronounce endorphin (audio) \

Medical Definition of endorphin

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on endorphin

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about endorphin

Comments on endorphin

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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