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 Farha and others have also encapsulated enzymes inside MOFs, protecting the fragile molecules from harsh environments and enabling them to carry out industrial reactions outside cells. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Crystalline nets harvest water from desert air, turn carbon dioxide into liquid fuel," 3 Sep. 2019 The machinery involved are called TALENs (transcription activator-like effector nucleases), which are enzymes that can be customized to snip a targeted spot in a genetic code. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Part cow, part… bacterium? Biotech company makes heifer of gene-editing blunder," 1 Sep. 2019 Ellagic acid seems to rev up enzymes that destroy cancer-causing substances and slow the growth of tumors. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, "Greek yogurt helps cut calories in these easy brownies with raspberry sauce," 11 Aug. 2019 Soon, enzymes that break down nerve tissue come online, and the brain's smaller structures and blood vessels rupture and break. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "Pig brains partially revived hours after death—what it means for people," 17 Apr. 2019 Today, microbes are used to produce a wide range of products including enzymes, foods, beverages, feedstocks, fuels and pharmaceuticals. Paul Vanouse, The Conversation, "An artist’s journey into the science of sweat," 12 Sep. 2019 The proteosome is a complex of enzymes in the skin that eliminate abnormal or damaged proteins. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "La Prairie Wants You To Spend $655 On a Pre-Serum Lotion," 6 Feb. 2019 Pineapple extract also pairs well with others, so plenty of products below contain fruit enzymes from papaya, pumpkin, and more. Allure, "11 Pineapple Skin-Care Products That Make Your Complexion Glow," 30 July 2019 Now, researchers analyzing bacteria in the human gut have discovered that microbes there produce two enzymes that can convert the common type A into a more universally accepted type. Alex Fox, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: The science of false confessions, transforming blood types, and Brazil’s war on drugs," 14 June 2019

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

4 Nov 2019

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


How to pronounce enzyme (audio)

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).


not being in agreement or harmony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!