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 life and our metabolisms are not predictable or fair, as multiple exercise studies involving people and animals show. Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times, "Exercise May Aid in Weight Loss. Provided You Do Enough.," 4 July 2018 This speeds up your metabolism (how your body uses energy), which can cause a host of symptoms like shorter periods, sudden weight loss, an irregular heartbeat, and irritability. Korin Miller, SELF, "How Long Does a Period Last, Normally?," 17 May 2018 The activities demonstrated which fruits and vegetables boost metabolism, are good for digestion, and are best for controlling blood sugar. Emily Himes, miamiherald, "Diabetic children learn about nutrition and keeping healthy at Camp Roaring Sun," 10 July 2018 After their trip, scientists will take a look inside different organs like the liver and spleen, to better understand any links between inflammation, altered metabolism, and changes to the microbiome. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "NASA's Astro-Mice Will Test What Space Does to Your Gut," 28 June 2018 Some studies have suggested that the brain needs R.E.M. sleep to keep its metabolism in balance. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, "Hot Heads: Why Mammals Need R.E.M. Sleep," 7 June 2018 Meanwhile, the blood concentration of acetaldehyde – a highly toxic compound that is carcinogenic, causes headaches and vomiting, makes people blush after drinking, and is produced during the normal alcohol metabolism – remained extremely low. Yunfeng Lu, Philly.com, "A hangover pill? Tests on drunk mice show promise," 11 May 2018 Eating more quality food is a great way to keep your metabolism running efficiently. Steven Macari, Harper's BAZAAR, "15 Ways to Combat Winter and Political Stress," 4 Jan. 2018 If the water in the reef gets too warm, the zooxanthellae’s metabolism goes into overdrive and starts producing toxins. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Hawaii is banning sunscreens that kill coral reefs," 2 July 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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Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for metabolism

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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