en·​zyme | \ˈen-ˌzīm \

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

Knocking down the enzyme in tumor cell lines made any cell sensitive to mannose. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Sugar cures cancer! (Not really, but one sugar may help chemo)," 21 Nov. 2018 Hyaluronidase is a naturally-occurring enzyme in the body that metabolizes hyaluronic acid, and can be injected as an antidote to existing filler. Samantha Sasso, refinery29.com, "Yes, You Can Remove Your Lip Fillers — Here's How," 9 July 2018 Another strategy relies on devices — known as biofuel cells — that generate electricity via chemical reactions between enzymes and fuel molecules in, or released from, the body, such as glucose in blood, or lactate in sweat. Charles Q. Choi, Washington Post, "How the body could power pacemakers and other implantable devices," 9 June 2018 The discovery led him to conclude that an enzyme in the body serves as a kind of pump that regulates the amount of potassium and sodium ions inside cells. Katie Thomas, BostonGlobe.com, "Jens Christian Skou, 99, Nobel recipient in chemistry," 4 June 2018 This happened, the group theorized, because AMH damped down levels of aromatase, an enzyme in the placenta that usually converts testosterone to a form of estrogen. Jennifer Couzin-frankel, Science | AAAS, "Scientists may be closer to understanding a mysterious but common cause of female infertility," 14 May 2018 The main benefit is that the microbes produced through this method chomp away at some of the enzymes and components in bread that can lead to troubling GI symptoms, such as gas and bloating, particularly among those with irritable bowel syndrome. Samantha Cassetty, NBC News, "How to buy bread like a (nutrition) pro," 27 Feb. 2018 But bacteria have evolved to resist beta-lactam by producing an enzyme that breaks the ringlike part of its molecular structure. Jonathon Keats, Discover Magazine, "Bacteria That Eat Drugs Could Help Solve the Antibiotic Resistance Crisis," 8 Nov. 2018 Another way to take down the size of the lips after temporary fillers is to inject an enzyme to dissolve the hyaluronic acid. Jessica Fecteau, PEOPLE.com, "Kylie Jenner Says She Removed Her Lip Fillers: A Plastic Surgeon Explains How the Procedure Works," 10 July 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.

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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

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Statistics for enzyme

Last Updated

16 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for enzyme

The first known use of enzyme was in 1881

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More Definitions for enzyme



English Language Learners Definition of enzyme

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


en·​zyme | \ˈen-ˌzīm \

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 \

Medical Definition of enzyme 

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

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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).


to make faulty or ineffective

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