tryp·​sin | \ ˈtrip-sən How to pronounce trypsin (audio) \

Definition of trypsin

: a proteolytic enzyme that is secreted in the pancreatic juice in the form of trypsinogen, is activated in the duodenum, and is most active in a slightly alkaline medium

Examples of trypsin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web However, raw peanuts can contain high amounts of something called trypsin inhibitors. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, 14 Feb. 2017

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

First Known Use of trypsin

1876, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for trypsin

borrowed from German Trypsin, of uncertain origin

Note: The term Trypsin was introduced by the German physiologist Wilhelm Kühne (1837-1900) in "Ueber das Trypsin (Enzym des Pankreas)," Verhandlungen des Naturhistorischen-Medicinischen Vereins zu Heidelberg, Neue Folge, 1. Band (1877), pp. 194-98. In this article Kühne says nothing about the origin of the word. In a preceding article (pp. 190-93), taken from Kühne's presentation to a session of the Verein ("Ueber das Verhalten verschiedener organisirter un sog. ungeformter Fermente," "Sitzung am 4. Februar 1876"), the following is stated: "Genauer untersucht wurde besonders das Eiweiss verdauende Enzym des Pankreas, für welches, da es zugleich Spaltung der Albuminkörper veranlasst, der Name Trypsin gewählt wurde." ("In particular the pancreatic enzyme that digests albumin was more closely investigated, for which the name trypsin was chosen, as it accomplishes at the same time cleaving of the albuminous bodies.") Though the base tryps- appears to be a nominal derivative of a Greek verb, no verb is known with an appropriate meaning. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests trîpsis "rubbing, wearing down," allegedly because the enzyme is produced by rubbing the pancreas with glycerin, but nothing in Kühne's article supports this, and y for expected i is unexplained. (In Kühne's procedure the fresh pancreas is initially crushed with alcohol and glass powder.)

Learn More About trypsin

Time Traveler for trypsin

Time Traveler

The first known use of trypsin was in 1876

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near trypsin




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for trypsin

Cite this Entry

“Trypsin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for trypsin


tryp·​sin | \ ˈtrip-sən How to pronounce trypsin (audio) \

Medical Definition of trypsin

1 : a crystallizable proteolytic enzyme that differs from pepsin in several ways (as in being most active in a slightly alkaline medium and in hydrolyzing esters as well as amides) and that is produced and secreted in the pancreatic juice in the form of inactive trypsinogen and activated in the intestine — compare chymotrypsin
2 : a preparation from the pancreatic juice differing from pancreatin in containing principally proteolytic enzymes and used chiefly as a digestive and lytic agent

More from Merriam-Webster on trypsin Encyclopedia article about trypsin


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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