porphyrin

noun

por·​phy·​rin ˈpȯr-fə-rən How to pronounce porphyrin (audio)
: any of various compounds with a macrocyclic structure that consists essentially of four pyrrole rings joined by four =CH− groups
especially : one (such as chlorophyll or hemoglobin) containing a central metal atom and usually exhibiting biological activity

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The researchers’ gold-scrubber is based on an organic compound called a porphyrin. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, 28 June 2020 The compounds, called porphyrins, had previously been shown to be adept at absorbing light and using that energy to convert oxygen molecules in the air to a reactive form known as singlet oxygen. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, 3 Sep. 2019

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

Word History

Etymology

International Scientific Vocabulary, from Greek porphyra purple

First Known Use

1910, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of porphyrin was in 1910

Dictionary Entries Near porphyrin

Cite this Entry

“Porphyrin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/porphyrin. Accessed 3 Feb. 2023.

Medical Definition

porphyrin

noun
por·​phy·​rin ˈpȯr-fə-rən How to pronounce porphyrin (audio)
: any of various compounds with a structure that consists essentially of four pyrrole rings joined by four =CH− groups
especially : one (as chlorophyll or hemoglobin) containing a central metal atom and usually having biological activity

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