ol·​i·​go·​sac·​cha·​ride | \ ˈä-li-gō-ˈsa-kə-ˌrīd How to pronounce oligosaccharide (audio) , ˈō-; ə-ˈli-gə- \

Definition of oligosaccharide

: a saccharide that contains usually three to ten monosaccharide units

Examples of oligosaccharide in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The same oligosaccharides on red blood cells also appear on the surface of cells that line the small intestine. Patricia L. Foster, The Conversation, 10 Jan. 2020 Norovirus and a few other viruses use these oligosaccharides to grab onto and infect the intestinal cells. Patricia L. Foster, The Conversation, 10 Jan. 2020 In short, this concept tries to explain why oligosaccharides – which are indigestible to babies – are the third-most prominent component in milk, are complex in structure and are variable between species. Enea Rezzonico, Scientific American, 17 Feb. 2015 As studies uncovered the importance of human milk oligosaccharides, so began attempts to mimic them in infant formula. Alice Callahan, Smithsonian, 25 Oct. 2019 These include lactose, fructose, sugar alcohols and specific types of fiber — the oligosaccharides — found in many wheat, rye barley, beans, nuts and many vegetables. Carrie Dennett, Washington Post, 4 Nov. 2019 Bovine milk, which most formula is based on, however, contains a negligible oligosaccharide component. Steven Townsend, Philly.com, 9 May 2018 By contrast, certain strains of gut bacteria delight in oligosaccharides, multiplying in the guts of nursing infants. Carl Zimmer, STAT, 30 May 2018 One third of human milk is composed of sugars called oligosaccharides, but babies cannot digest them; the sugars are food for microbes, which furnish infants with essential nutrients that grow their brains and proteins that seal their guts. Jason Pontin, WIRED, 15 June 2018

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

1930, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for oligosaccharide

International Scientific Vocabulary

Learn More About oligosaccharide

Time Traveler for oligosaccharide

Time Traveler

The first known use of oligosaccharide was in 1930

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near oligosaccharide




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for oligosaccharide

Cite this Entry

“Oligosaccharide.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oligosaccharide. Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for oligosaccharide


oli·​go·​sac·​cha·​ride | \ ˌäl-i-gō-ˈsak-ə-ˌrīd, ˌō-li- How to pronounce oligosaccharide (audio) \

Medical Definition of oligosaccharide

: a saccharide that contains usually three to ten monosaccharide units

More from Merriam-Webster on oligosaccharide

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oligosaccharide


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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