phospholipid

noun

phos·​pho·​lip·​id ˌfäs-fō-ˈli-pəd How to pronounce phospholipid (audio)
: any of various phosphorus-containing complex lipids (such as lecithins and phosphatidylethanolamines) that are derived from glycerol and are major constituents of the membranes of cells and intracellular organelles and vesicles

Note: Phospholipids typically consist of a hydrophilic polar phosphate head and a hydrophobic tail of two fatty acids. In aqueous environments, phospholipids typically form semipermeable bilayers in which the hydrophilic heads point outward and the hydrophobic tails point inward toward each other.

Examples of phospholipid in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This chemical compound is a type of phospholipid, which acts as a kind of barrier to protect cells and enable certain cell functions. Stephen C. George, Discover Magazine, 17 Oct. 2023 Hu’s goal in this latest research is to verify his theory: that the chaotic immune response is, in fact, directly linked to this battle against the phospholipids. Kay Lazar, BostonGlobe.com, 29 Aug. 2023 Foods that include phospholipids, such as lecithin; milk and almonds are both a good source. Ana Morales, Vogue, 8 Aug. 2023 Green is a healthy fat, or phospholipid, and an essential compound within the human brain. Dallas News, 23 Aug. 2022 Víctor Rivilla at the Spanish Astrobiology Centre in Madrid and colleagues, have made the first detection in space of ethanolamine, a crucial component of the simplest phospholipid. The Physics Arxiv Blog, Discover Magazine, 27 May 2021 Sharp-PS Green is an advanced form of a phospholipid, or healthy fat, that’s present in the human brain. Dallas News, 24 Jan. 2023 This is a phase micrograph at 400X magnification of structures formed by a phospholipid in water. Discover Magazine, 31 Jan. 2013 Cheng’s team, for example, used a commercially available phospholipid reagent to slip a peptide known to home to heart cells into exosome membranes. Amanda B. Keener, Scientific American, 17 June 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'phospholipid.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1925, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of phospholipid was in 1925

Dictionary Entries Near phospholipid

Cite this Entry

“Phospholipid.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phospholipid. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

phospholipid

noun
phos·​pho·​lip·​id ˌfäs-fō-ˈlip-əd How to pronounce phospholipid (audio)
: a phosphorus-containing fatty substance that forms the main structural part of a cell membrane

Medical Definition

phospholipid

noun
phos·​pho·​lip·​id -ˈlip-əd How to pronounce phospholipid (audio)
variants also phospholipide
: any of various phosphorus-containing complex lipids (such as lecithins and phosphatidylethanolamines) that are derived from glycerol and are major constituents of the membranes of cells and intracellular organelles and vesicles

Note: Phospholipids typically consist of a hydrophilic polar phosphate head and a hydrophobic tail of two fatty acids. In aqueous environments, phospholipids typically form semipermeable bilayers in which the hydrophilic heads point outward and the hydrophobic tails point inward toward each other.

called also phosphatide, phospholipin

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