prebiotic

adjective
pre·​bi·​ot·​ic | \ ˌprē-bī-ˈä-tik How to pronounce prebiotic (audio) \

Definition of prebiotic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or being chemical or environmental precursors of the origin of life … it is possible that either the prebiotic molecules necessary for the evolution of life or the raw materials from which these molecules formed were brought to Earth by comet-like objects.— Marcia Neugebauer also : existing or occurring before the origin of life … RNA is a chemically fragile molecule, unlikely to survive the harsh prebiotic conditions. — Michael Egholm et al.
2 : of, relating to, or being a prebiotic … next-generation probiotic microbes administered along with the appropriate prebiotic nutrients to nourish them.— Michael Pollan

prebiotic

noun

Definition of prebiotic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a substance and especially a carbohydrate (such as inulin) that is nearly or wholly indigestible and that when consumed (as in food) promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract Prebiotics are naturally found in certain fruits, vegetables, and herbs, including artichoke, asparagus, bananas, chicory, garlic, and onions.— Andrew Weil — compare probiotic

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of prebiotic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Perhaps a slight excess of right-handed nucleotides was trapped and amplified in a shallow pool or some other prebiotic test tube. Quanta Magazine, "New Twist Found in the Story of Life’s Start," 26 Nov. 2014 Now, as a visiting research assistant at the Hörst Phazer Lab group in Maryland, Walker studies prebiotic chemical molecules on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Darcel Rockett, chicagotribune.com, "Wakandacon returns to Chicago without ‘Black Panther.’ Meet the aspiring astrochemist making her mark on the event — and fighting the ‘Black women don’t like physics’ stereotype," 25 July 2019 Furthermore, environmental conditions on Titan appear to be similar to those found on early, prebiotic Earth. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "NASA Will Send a Helicopter to Hunt for Life on Saturn's Biggest Moon," 27 June 2019 Its mission is to explore the moon that is larger than the planet Mercury, looking for prebiotic chemical processes that are similar to what has occurred on Earth. Richard Tribou, orlandosentinel.com, "NASA to send flying drone Dragonfly to Saturn moon Titan," 27 June 2019 In fact, this process, in principle, can explain how large aggregations like galaxies, stars and planets can form due to gravity and how the chemicals required for life could have originated by prebiotic chemical evolution. Quanta Magazine, "Seeing Time Through a Liquid Crystal Display," 13 Sep. 2016 Biochemists have tended to favor an alternative proposal, that a chance occurrence of prebiotic chemistry triggered an initial disequilibrium. Quanta Magazine, "New Twist Found in the Story of Life’s Start," 26 Nov. 2014 Colorful fruits and veggies: Foods high in prebiotic fiber, including produce and 100% whole grains like oats, are also key. Good Housekeeping, "Exactly What to Eat to Boost Your Immune System, According to a Registered Dietitian," 30 Jan. 2019 While all fiber is good, here are some great prebiotic fiber sources: Jerusalem artichokes, onions, garlic, and leeks, as well as chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds. Liz Krieger, Harper's BAZAAR, "The New Way to Lose Weight Involves Healing Your Gut," 26 June 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In addition to preventing constipation and supporting good digestive health, peach fiber helps manage blood sugar levels. Peaches also contain prebiotics, which feed beneficial bacteria in the gut tied to anti-inflammation, immunity, and mood. Cynthia Sass, Mph, Health.com, "8 Health Benefits of Peaches," 7 Aug. 2019 Inulin is a type of prebiotic, a substance that’s used by the microorganisms in your digestive tract and positively influences health. Christy Brissette, Washington Post, "What is inulin, and why is it showing up in so many food products?," 12 June 2019 Similarly, some dog foods contain prebiotics, such as soluble fibers that feed good bacteria, but there is only limited evidence of these foods effectively improving the health of the gut microbiome. Texas A&m University, Houston Chronicle, "Pet Talk: The benefits of a balanced microbiome," 13 July 2019 Though inulin offers benefits as a fiber source and as a prebiotic, keep in mind that the majority of your fiber should be coming from whole foods that provide other nutrients. Christy Brissette, Washington Post, "What is inulin, and why is it showing up in so many food products?," 12 June 2019 This fiber also provides prebiotics, which fuel your body’s probiotics and help these friendly bacteria survive and thrive. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "Is Oat Milk Healthy? Here's What You Need to Know, According to a Nutritionist," 11 Apr. 2019 Once in your stomach, freekeh acts as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of healthy bacteria that aid digestion. Leah Zerbe, Good Housekeeping, "The 11 Healthiest Whole Grains You Should Be Eating," 17 July 2018 Probiotics are an ever-growing market, with 3.9 million adults in the US using either probiotics or prebiotics. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Probiotics: If you don’t just poop them out, they may muck up your guts," 8 Sep. 2018 Some examples of prebiotic produce include: Collards Garlic Kale Onions While garden-friendly probiotics include: Cabbage Ginger Turmeric root Reporter’s note: All of these vegetables and herbs can be grown in Florida. Lauren Delgado, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Stock your garden with gut-friendly produce," 2 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of prebiotic

Adjective

1954, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1995, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for prebiotic

Adjective

pre- + biotic

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about prebiotic

Statistics for prebiotic

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prebiotic

The first known use of prebiotic was in 1954

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for prebiotic

prebiotic

adjective
pre·​bi·​ot·​ic | \ -bī-ˈät-ik\

Medical Definition of prebiotic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or being chemical or environmental precursors of the origin of life prebiotic molecules also : existing or occurring before the origin of life prebiotic conditions
2 : of, relating to, or being a prebiotic Prebiotic agents included the oligosaccharides inulin, galactose, fructose, lactulose, and combinations of these nutrients.— Josef Neu et al., The New England Journal of Medicine, 20 Jan. 2011

Other Words from prebiotic

prebiotically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

prebiotic

noun

Medical Definition of prebiotic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a substance and especially a carbohydrate (such as inulin) that is nearly or wholly indigestible and that when consumed (as in food) promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract — compare probiotic

Comments on prebiotic

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a usually brief trip or an expedition

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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