en·​keph·​a·​lin | \ in-ˈke-fə-lən How to pronounce enkephalin (audio) , -(ˌ)lin, en- \

Definition of enkephalin

: either of two pentapeptides with opiate and analgesic activity that occur naturally especially in the brain and have a marked affinity for opiate receptors — compare endorphin

Examples of enkephalin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web During that time, your body tends to produce less endorphins and enkephalins, which are natural pain-killers, than at any other time of day, according to the National Headache Foundation. Korin Miller, SELF, "6 Causes of Morning Headaches," 24 Aug. 2017

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

First Known Use of enkephalin

1975, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for enkephalin

enkephal- (alteration of encephal-) + -in

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about enkephalin

Time Traveler for enkephalin

Time Traveler

The first known use of enkephalin was in 1975

See more words from the same year

Statistics for enkephalin

Cite this Entry

“Enkephalin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enkephalin. Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for enkephalin


en·​keph·​a·​lin | \ in-ˈkef-ə-lən, -(ˌ)lin How to pronounce enkephalin (audio) \

Medical Definition of enkephalin

: either of two pentapeptide endorphins:

More from Merriam-Webster on enkephalin

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about enkephalin

Comments on enkephalin

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!