melanin

noun
mel·​a·​nin | \ ˈme-lə-nən How to pronounce melanin (audio) \
plural melanins

Definition of melanin

: any of various black, brown, reddish-brown, reddish-yellow, or yellow pigments of living organisms that in animals are typically produced in melanocytes by the oxidation of tyrosine followed by polymerization and are found especially in skin, hair, feathers, and eyes Scientists know that all melanin molecules consist of long chains made mostly of derivatives of the amino acid tyrosine, but the individual units of the chain connect in random order.— Corinna Wu Melanin performs an array of functions for modern organisms, such as camouflage, photo protection, and display.— Margaret Jones especially : eumelanin Tyrosinase enzymes are needed for the manufacture of melanin, the dark pigment that forms the color base of feathers. — Philip C. Whitford Brown spots and birthmarks contain especially high concentrations of melanin, the substance that gives skin its color. USA Today — see also neuromelanin, pheomelanin

Examples of melanin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Its primary product is tinted sunscreen intentionally created for those with higher amounts of melanin in their skin. Brooklyn White, Essence, 3 May 2022 No one's melanin is enough to protect them from the sun's rays. Jennet Jusu, Allure, 2 Mar. 2022 With consistent use, your skin can become more even in tone—and downright glowy!— because vitamin C inhibits the over-production of melanin, the substance in your body that produces pigmentation in your hair, eyes, and skin. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, 28 Apr. 2022 Along with that loss of melanin at the follicular level is a decreased production of sebum, which means your gray hair isn’t getting as much natural nourishment as your original hair color was. Adam Hurly, Robb Report, 7 Apr. 2022 This story is a part of The Melanin Edit, a platform in which Allure will explore every facet of a melanin-rich life. C. Shardae Jobson, Allure, 5 Apr. 2022 Bone structure and melanin production also play a role in aging. Celia Shatzman, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 Dihydroxy methylchromonyl palmitate is a self-tanning ingredient which helps increase melanin production when used topically. Kirbie Johnson, Allure, 4 Feb. 2022 Two monuments that looked like ancestral stonework were situated on both sides of the stage, looking over a crowd of congregants sharing many of their facial attributes: full lips, round eyes, and melanin. Meagan Jordan, Rolling Stone, 7 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of melanin

1843, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for melanin

Greek melan-, stem of mélās "black, dark" + -in entry 1, after Italian melaina — more at melano-

Note: The term melaina was introduced in a study of squid ink by the Italian chemist Bartolomeo Bizio (1791-1862), "Ricerche chimiche sovra l'inchiostro della Seppia," Giornale di fisica, chimica, storia naturale, medicina ed arte, decade 2, tomo 8 (1825), p. 105. Bizio formed the word from Greek mélās "black" and aeí "always" because the substance he had isolated retained its color no matter what acid or other potent chemical it was exposed to ("Questo principio animal particolarissimo il fu chiamato così dal greco mélas, nero, ed aeì sempre, che vale materia sempre nera, conciossachè gli acidi, il cloro, e tutto che vi è di più potente, non bastano a mutarlo di colore.")

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The first known use of melanin was in 1843

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Melaniidae

melanin

melaninlike

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Melanin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/melanin. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for melanin

melanin

noun
mel·​a·​nin | \ ˈmel-ə-nən How to pronounce melanin (audio) \

Medical Definition of melanin

: any of various black, brown, reddish-brown, reddish-yellow, or yellow pigments of living organisms that in animals are typically produced in melanocytes by the oxidation of tyrosine followed by polymerization and are found especially in skin, hair, feathers, and eyes Scientists know that all melanin molecules consist of long chains made mostly of derivatives of the amino acid tyrosine, but the individual units of the chain connect in random order.— Corinna Wu, Science News especially : eumelanin Brown spots and birthmarks contain especially high concentrations of melanin, the substance that gives skin its color. USA Today Natural melanin surrounds and protects our cells not only by absorbing ultraviolet radiation, but also by scattering it and making it lose energy, rendering it harmless. — Rowann Gilman, Prevention — see also neuromelanin, pheomelanin

More from Merriam-Webster on melanin

Britannica English: Translation of melanin for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about melanin

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