metabolism

noun
me·​tab·​o·​lism | \ mə-ˈta-bə-ˌli-zəm \

Definition of metabolism

1a : the sum of the processes in the buildup and destruction of protoplasm specifically : the chemical changes in living cells by which energy is provided for vital processes and activities and new material is assimilated (see assimilate entry 1 sense 1b) Regular exercise can help to increase your metabolism.
b : the sum of the processes by which a particular substance is handled in the living body
c : the sum of the metabolic activities taking place in a particular environment the metabolism of a lake
2 : metamorphosis sense 2 usually used in combination holometabolism

Examples of metabolism in a Sentence

studying the metabolisms of various organisms

Recent Examples on the Web

But within a day or two of returning to their normal activities, their metabolisms usually stabilized and blood-sugar and insulin levels dropped. Gretchen Reynolds, The Seattle Times, "Planning a break from exercise? Think twice," 8 Aug. 2018 Purple bacteria has the problem of excess electrons from their metabolism. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Bacteria Could Transform Human Feces and Wastewater Into Energy," 13 Nov. 2018 And what about this study, also from 2015, which supposedly showed that vinegar had a positive effect on post-meal carbohydrate metabolism for the study’s subjects? Denby Royal, SELF, "I Used to Be a Wellness Influencer. Now I'm an Alternative Medicine Skeptic," 9 Aug. 2018 Physical activity is, of course, good for us and our metabolisms. Gretchen Reynolds, The Seattle Times, "Planning a break from exercise? Think twice," 8 Aug. 2018 The new results may indicate that opioids play a wider role in energy metabolism than scientists previously thought. Stephani Sutherland, Scientific American, "Even Unpalatable Foods Taste Good to the Brain," 1 Dec. 2017 Also, if your weight loss is connected with eating too few calories, that can cause your metabolism to slow down, Dr. Besson explains, and your temperature regulation may not be as efficient as usual. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "7 Reasons You Might Be Feeling Cold All the Time," 16 Oct. 2018 Ice works by slowing down your body’s metabolism, reducing inflammation, and helping to numb the area. Michael Yang, Philly.com, "Q&A: Should I use ice or heat to treat my sports injury?," 1 June 2018 Mussels open and close their shells a small amount as part of their normal metabolism. Angela Chen, The Verge, "How slime molds and mussels could be the future of architecture," 27 Nov. 2018

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

1878, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for metabolism

International Scientific Vocabulary, from Greek metabolē change, from metaballein to change, from meta- + ballein to throw — more at devil

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20 Jan 2019

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The first known use of metabolism was in 1878

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More Definitions for metabolism

metabolism

noun

English Language Learners Definition of metabolism

biology : the chemical processes by which a plant or an animal uses food, water, etc., to grow and heal and to make energy

metabolism

noun
me·​tab·​o·​lism | \ mə-ˈta-bə-ˌli-zəm \

Kids Definition of metabolism

: the processes by which a living organism uses food to obtain energy and build tissue and disposes of waste material

metabolism

noun
me·​tab·​o·​lism | \ mə-ˈtab-ə-ˌliz-əm \

Medical Definition of metabolism

1a : the sum of the processes in the buildup and destruction of protoplasm specifically : the chemical changes in living cells by which energy is provided for vital processes and activities and new material is assimilated methods of determining body and tissue metabolism Bulletin of the University of Kentucky — see anabolism, catabolism
b : the sum of the processes by which a particular substance is handled (as by assimilation and incorporation or by detoxification and excretion) in the living body the metabolism of iodine in the thyroid
2 : metamorphosis sense 2 usually used in combination holometabolism

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More from Merriam-Webster on metabolism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with metabolism

Spanish Central: Translation of metabolism

Nglish: Translation of metabolism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of metabolism for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about metabolism

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