met·​a·​bol·​ic | \ ˌme-tə-ˈbä-lik How to pronounce metabolic (audio) \

Definition of metabolic

: of, relating to, or based on metabolism

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Other Words from metabolic

metabolically \ ˌme-​tə-​ˈbä-​li-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce metabolic (audio) \ adverb

Examples of metabolic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Others have smart capabilities to provide more information on your overall health, including your body fat percentage, muscle mass, and metabolic rate. Rebecca Carhart,, "The 11 Best Bathroom Scales, According to Thousands of Customer Reviews," 18 Feb. 2021 The ideal balance of calories will complement your physical activity level and your metabolic rate. Emily Abbate, Good Housekeeping, "Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Almondmilk?," 9 Feb. 2021 For every degree Celsius rise in this temperature, the oxygen consumption or the metabolic activity goes up by 10 to 13 percent. Daily Health Reports, Chron, "Meticore Reviews (2021 Updated) Diet Pills Supplement with Real Ingredients or Side Effects?," 4 Feb. 2021 The pressure provided from compression garments like socks or sleeves may help actually improve circulation, which in turn assists with removing metabolic waste from muscles. Stefani Sassos, Ms, Rdn, Cso, Good Housekeeping, "12 Tips to Optimize Muscle Recovery, According to Fitness Experts," 14 Jan. 2021 Indirect calorimetry is another way to estimate metabolic rate. Terezie Tolar-peterson, The Conversation, "Whether slow or fast, here’s how your metabolism influences how many calories you burn each day," 28 Dec. 2020 Experts are also increasingly understanding that PCOS often has a metabolic link as well, and that it's often connected to weight gain and diabetes. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Keke Palmer Reveals She Has PCOS—and She Had to Fight for a Diagnosis," 2 Dec. 2020 High levels of cfDNA indicate aggressive molecular tumor profiles and high levels of metabolic activity. Larry Luxner,, "Israeli scientists pioneering new, less invasive breast cancer detection methods," 18 Nov. 2020 Gakidou said the biggest impact on health has come from a large increase in metabolic risk factors over the last decade. Andrea Kane, CNN, "Global rise in chronic diseases combined with Covid-19 bodes ill for world health," 15 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'metabolic.' 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 metabolic

1841, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for metabolic

borrowed from German metabolisch, borrowed from Greek metabolikós "changeable, subject to change," from metabolḗ "change, transition" (from metabol-, stem in noun derivation of metabállein "to put into a different position, turn about, change, alter," from meta- meta- + bállein "to reach by throwing, let fly, strike, put, place") + -ikos -ic entry 1 — more at devil entry 1

Note: The term was introduced by the German physiologist Theodor Schwann (1810-82) in Die Mikroskopischen Untersuchungen über die Uebereinstimmung in der Struktur und dem Wachsthum der Thiere und Pflanzen (Berlin, 1839), p. 229: "Die Frage über die Grundkraft der Organismen reducirt sich also auf die Frage über die Grundkräfte der einzelnen Zellen. Wir müssen nun die allgemeinen Erscheinungen der Zellenbildung betrachten, um zu finden, welche Kräfte man zur Erklärung derselben in den Zellen voraussetzen muss. Diese Erscheinungen lassen sich unter zwei natürlichen Gruppen bringen: Erstens Erscheinungen, die sich auf die Zusammenfügung der Moleküle zu einer Zelle beziehn; man kann sie die plastischen Erscheinungen der Zellen nennen; zweitens Erscheinungen, die sich auf chemische Veränderungen, sowohl der Bestandtheile der Zelle selbst, als des umgebenden Cytoblastems beziehn; diese kann man metabolische Erscheinungen nennen (τὸ μεταβολικὸν [sic] was Umwandlung hervorzubringen oder zu erleiden geneigt ist)." — "The question, then, as to the fundamental powers of organized bodies resolves itself into that of the fundamental powers of the individual cells. We must now consider the general phenomena attending the formation of cells, in order to discover what powers may be presumed to exist in the cells to explain them. These phenomena may be arranged in two natural groups: first, those which relate to the combination of the molecules to form a cell, and which may be denominated the plastic phenomena of the cells; secondly, those which result from chemical changes either in the component particles of the cell itself, or in the surrounding cytoblastema [fluid held to be the formative substance from which cells arise], and which may be called metabolic phenomena (tò metabolikòn, implying that which is liable to occasion or to suffer change)." (Microscopical Researches into the Accordance in the Structure and Growth of Animals and Plants, translator Henry Smith, London, 1847).

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The first known use of metabolic was in 1841

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Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Metabolic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for metabolic


met·​a·​bol·​ic | \ ˌme-tə-ˈbä-lik How to pronounce metabolic (audio) \

Kids Definition of metabolic

: of or relating to metabolism metabolic activity


met·​a·​bol·​ic | \ ˌmet-ə-ˈbäl-ik How to pronounce metabolic (audio) \

Medical Definition of metabolic

1 : of, relating to, or based on metabolism
2 : vegetative sense 1a(2) used especially of a cell nucleus that is not dividing

Other Words from metabolic

metabolically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce metabolic (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on metabolic

Nglish: Translation of metabolic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of metabolic for Arabic Speakers

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