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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about papain

Statistics for papain

Cite this Entry

“Papain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on papain Encyclopedia article about papain

Comments on papain

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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