pep·​sin | \ ˈpep-sən How to pronounce pepsin (audio) \

Definition of pepsin

1 : a protease of the stomach that breaks down most proteins to polypeptides
2 : a preparation containing pepsin that is obtained from the stomach especially of the hog and is used especially as a digestive aid

Examples of pepsin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Even that function is carried out by proteins like pepsin. Nathan Ahlgren, The Conversation, 13 Jan. 2021 In 2012, a lab study showed that water with a pH of 8.8 neutralized pepsin, the enzyme that causes damage to the esophagus in people with acid reflux. SELF, 6 Sep. 2018 That’s because plant protein is digested mostly in the intestines, while animal protein is digested in the stomach—which is also the point of production for pepsin. Alice Park, Time, 7 Sep. 2017

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

circa 1844, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pepsin

German, from Greek pepsis digestion, from pessein

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Time Traveler for pepsin

Time Traveler

The first known use of pepsin was circa 1844

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Cite this Entry

“Pepsin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for pepsin


pep·​sin | \ ˈpep-sən How to pronounce pepsin (audio) \

Kids Definition of pepsin

: an enzyme that starts the digestion of proteins in the stomach


pep·​sin | \ ˈpep-sən How to pronounce pepsin (audio) \

Medical Definition of pepsin

1 : a crystallizable protease that in an acid medium digests most proteins to polypeptides (as by dissolving coagulated egg albumin or causing casein to precipitate from skim milk), that is secreted by glands in the mucous membrane of the stomach of higher animals, and that in combination with dilute hydrochloric acid is the chief active principle of gastric juice
2 : a preparation containing pepsin obtained as a powder or scales from the stomach especially of the hog and used especially as a digestant

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