en·​zyme | \ ˈen-ˌzīm How to pronounce enzyme (audio) \

Definition of enzyme

: any of numerous complex proteins that are produced by living cells and catalyze specific biochemical reactions at body temperatures

Examples of enzyme in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Semen contains components like sugars, enzymes, and acids, all of which can irritate your fragile ocular tissue. Kasandra Brabaw, SELF, "So, You Got Semen in Your Eye. Here's What to Do," 1 Mar. 2019 During the fermentation process, enzymes and microbes like yeasts convert sugars in the pulp into acids and ethanol, changing the chemical composition, and therefore the taste, of the beans. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian, "How Hawaii Became the North Pole of Cacao," 14 Feb. 2018 Pancreatitis is a condition in which those enzymes damage the pancreas and cause inflammation. Korin Miller, SELF, "What Is Pancreatitis, the Condition that Lead to Comedian Kevin Barnett’s Death?," 25 Jan. 2019 Just how active those starch enzymes become depends on factors like the duration and temperature of the process and the presence (or not) of yeast. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "How to get that great “hoppy” beer taste without the exploding bottles," 5 Oct. 2018 The other option for getting rid of fillers is to ask a plastic surgeon or cosmetic dermatologist to inject lips with Hyaluronidase, an enzyme that speeds us the rate at which the gel filler dissolves. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Kylie Jenner Reportedly Removed Her Lip Injections," 13 July 2018 Samples of cartilage and joint tissue at the time of surgery showed that 86 percent of the patients on cod-liver oil produced less of a cartilage-eroding enzyme or none of it. Houston Chronicle, "Old wives’ remedy helped arthritis pain," 1 July 2018 The meganuclease treatment did cause liver enzymes to rise, indicating an immune response, which wasn’t unexpected because this molecule came from algae. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, "Gene edited monkeys offer hope for heart disease patients," 9 July 2018 Labs such as liver enzymes ALT and AST, as well as inflammatory marker CRP can be improved in as little as one week, giving you that extra bit of incentive to hang in there. Molly Kimball, NOLA.com, "#AlcoholFreeFor40 Challenge starts Feb. 14: 9 steps to make it a easier," 14 Feb. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of enzyme

1881, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for enzyme

German Enzym, from Middle Greek enzymos leavened, from Greek en- + zymē leaven — more at juice

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about enzyme

Statistics for enzyme

Last Updated

11 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for enzyme

The first known use of enzyme was in 1881

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for enzyme



English Language Learners Definition of enzyme

technical : a chemical substance in animals and plants that helps to cause natural processes (such as digestion)


en·​zyme | \ ˈen-ˌzīm How to pronounce enzyme (audio) \

Kids Definition of enzyme

: a substance produced by body cells that helps bring about or speed up bodily chemical activities (as the digestion of food) without being destroyed in so doing


en·​zyme | \ ˈen-ˌzīm How to pronounce enzyme (audio) \

Medical Definition of enzyme

: any of numerous complex proteins that are produced by living cells and catalyze specific biochemical reactions at body temperatures

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on enzyme

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with enzyme

Spanish Central: Translation of enzyme

Nglish: Translation of enzyme for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enzyme for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about enzyme

Comments on enzyme

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


the range of authority or knowledge

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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