po·​ly·​mer·​ase pə-ˈli-mə-rās How to pronounce polymerase (audio) ˈpä-lə-mə-ˌrās How to pronounce polymerase (audio)
: any of several enzymes that catalyze the formation of DNA or RNA from precursor substances in the presence of preexisting DNA or RNA acting as a template compare dna polymerase, rna polymerase

Examples of polymerase in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The polymerase therefore copies an incomplete genome more quickly than a complete one. Quanta Magazine, 11 Apr. 2024 While polymerase chase reaction, or PCR, COVID tests are more accurate that rapid antigen tests, they must be administered by a skilled laboratory technician, require special equipment and take up to an hour or more to process. Angela Roberts, Baltimore Sun, 14 Feb. 2024 But the biggest surprise was that the viruses had a polymerase enzyme dedicated to pairing Z bases with T’s during DNA replication. Quanta Magazine, 12 July 2021 Approximately 4 million people with active hepatitis C were identified and treated with the antiviral medication Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), a nucleotide analogue that inhibits the polymerase enzyme of hepatitis C and blocks its replication, effectively eliminating hepatitis C from Egypt. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 17 Aug. 2022 The antiviral drug remdesivir, for example, is a polymerase inhibitor that works similarly to molnupiravir, and it has been shown to be effective against Covid-19, but it can be administered only by IV. NBC News, 12 Nov. 2021 Once a SARS-CoV-2 virus has infected a lung cell, an enzyme called polymerase starts to make copies of its RNA while another enzyme, ExoN, finds random mutations and expels these genetic mistakes from the copies. Mark Fischetti, Scientific American, 23 June 2020 The low-frequency mutations originate from polymerase mistakes when copying the virus. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 28 Sep. 2021 The Merck pill, which doesn’t affect protease but instead introduces mutational errors through an enzyme called polymerase, initially showed a 50% reduction in hospitalization and death in high-risk unvaccinated people with mild or moderate COVID-19. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, 14 Dec. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'polymerase.' 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

1948, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of polymerase was in 1948

Dictionary Entries Near polymerase

Cite this Entry

“Polymerase.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polymerase. Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Medical Definition


: any of several enzymes that catalyze the formation of DNA or RNA from precursor substances in the presence of preexisting DNA or RNA acting as a template
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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