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

Definition of metabolic

: of, relating to, or based on metabolism

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 Allara reduces the difficult path to diagnosis from years to days, with their diagnostic tool which tests a wide range of hormonal and metabolic markers, such as thyroid levels and insulin resistance. Anna Haines, Forbes, 15 June 2022 Broadly speaking, the firm’s Cambridge, UK, research site also has an emphasis on cancer, its Gaithersburg, Md., location focuses on biologic drugs, and labs in Gothenburg, Sweden, work on cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Globe Staff,, 29 Apr. 2022 There are clear biological and metabolic mechanisms at play. Kendall Powell, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Dec. 2021 Experts say circadian misalignment has been associated with adverse effects on cognition and mood as well as cardiovascular and metabolic function. Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2021 Part of the challenge in understanding long COVID-19 is that many of the symptoms, like fatigue and brain fog, can stem from a variety of conditions from hormonal or metabolic changes to sleep disruption or depression. Allison Navis, The Conversation, 16 Aug. 2021 After an investigation, a SUID death might be from suffocation via airway blockage or tangled in bedding and blankets, infection, choking, injury or a cardiac or metabolic dysfunction. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 27 Apr. 2021 At issue is a medicine known as CDCA that is used to treat people with cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis, or CTX, a rare genetic metabolic disease. Ed Silverman, STAT, 3 June 2022 The researchers compared their own metabolic data to a range of other insect species, as there was no other insect with such a breadth of size. New York Times, 13 Aug. 2021 See More

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.

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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metabolic heat

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Last Updated

26 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Metabolic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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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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