metabolism

noun
me·​tab·​o·​lism | \ mə-ˈta-bə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce metabolism (audio) \

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

Preliminary research published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that sleeping with the TV or other lights on can mix up your metabolism and lead to weight gain and even obesity. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Uh Oh, Sleeping with the TV on May Lead to Weight Gain," 11 June 2019 This would slow down his metabolism and his bodily need for oxygen. Bart Barnes, Washington Post, "Paul Corso, cardiac surgeon who performed high-risk procedure, dies at 74," 11 June 2019 According to LiveStrong, she's said to Rachael Ray in an interview that being an Aries also keeps her metabolism going. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Céline Dion's #1 Fitness Secret," 6 May 2019 Filaments of the protein actin, for example, could have stabilized contacts between the hosts and symbionts and improved the coupling of their metabolisms. Quanta Magazine, "Researchers Rethink the Ancestry of Complex Cells," 9 Apr. 2019 When their favorite watering holes are covered by ice, these reptiles lower their body temperatures and slow their metabolism by 95 percent. Brian Handwerk, National Geographic, "It’s not just bears: These hibernating animals may surprise you," 7 Mar. 2019 SeaWorld scientists have published some 300 research papers that have been shared with the scientific community, including ones on killer whales’ metabolism, reproduction and vocal learning. Gogo Lidz, Newsweek, "How Aquariums Can Actually Save Animals in the Wild," 21 Sep. 2015 Normally, the endocannabinoid system is thought to play a role in a variety of functions in the body, helping to regulate things like parts of the immune system, the release of hormones, metabolism, and memory. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Do Topical CBD Products Actually Do Anything for Pain?," 19 Apr. 2019 In fact, Bulletproof draws on studies done with rats to make their claims about metabolism and energy burn. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "The Truth About Bulletproof Coffee, According to a Nutritionist," 5 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about metabolism

Statistics for metabolism

Last Updated

23 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for metabolism

The first known use of metabolism was in 1878

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce metabolism (audio) \

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 How to pronounce metabolism (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on metabolism

What made you want to look up metabolism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!