Definition of luciferin
: any of various organic substances in luminescent organisms (such as fireflies) that upon oxidation produce a virtually heatless light
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Did You Know?
Luciferin got its name from the Latin word lucifer (meaning "light-bearing"), which is also a source of the word that is sometimes used as a name of the devil. We won't go into how Lucifer came to be called by that name-suffice it to say he wasn't always associated with darkness-but we will look a bit more closely at the Latin word lucifer. It comes from Latin luc-, meaning "light," plus -fer, meaning "bearing" or "producing." Additional relatives include the nontechnical adjective luciferous, meaning "bringing light or insight," and luciferase, the enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of luciferin.
Origin and Etymology of luciferin
International Scientific Vocabulary, from Latin lucifer light-bearing
First Known Use: 1888
Learn More about luciferin
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about luciferin
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