pa·​pa·​in | \ pə-ˈpā-ən How to pronounce papain (audio) , -ˈpī-ən How to pronounce papain (audio) \

Definition of papain

: a protease in the juice of unripe papaya that is used especially as a tenderizer for meat and in medicine (as in the topical debridement of necrotic tissue)

Examples of papain in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And the smaller events, in many cases, produced genes associated with being carnivorous — like the ones that make papain, an enzyme in meat tenderizer. Joanna Klein, New York Times, "Genetic Tidying Up Made Humped Bladderworts Into Carnivorous Plants," 19 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'papain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of papain

1880, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for papain

International Scientific Vocabulary, from papaya

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Time Traveler for papain

Time Traveler

The first known use of papain was in 1880

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Cite this Entry

“Papain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for papain


pa·​pa·​in | \ pə-ˈpā-ən How to pronounce papain (audio) , -ˈpī- How to pronounce papain (audio) \

Medical Definition of papain

: a crystallizable protease in the juice of the green fruit of the papaya obtained usually as a brownish powder and used chiefly as a tenderizer for meat and in medicine as a digestant and as a topical agent in the debridement of necrotic tissue

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