xan·​tho·​phyll | \ ˈzan(t)-thə-ˌfil How to pronounce xanthophyll (audio) \

Definition of xanthophyll

: any of several yellow to orange carotenoid pigments that are oxygen derivatives of carotenes especially : lutein

Examples of xanthophyll in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The loss of green chlorophyll reveals the leaves’ underlying colors, which are mainly due to a yellow pigment called xanthophyll and an orange pigment called carotene — the same pigment that makes carrots orange. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Nitty-gritty details create glory of autumn leaves," 14 Oct. 2019 These result from mutations in certain leaf cells that block the production of chlorophyll or xanthophylls — or both. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Why do some garden leaves turn green, white and yellow? Foliage decoded," 14 June 2019

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

First Known Use of xanthophyll

1838, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for xanthophyll

borrowed from German, from xantho- xantho- + -phyll -phyll

Note: The term was introduced by J. J. berzelius in "Ueber die gelbe Farbe der Blätter im Herbste," Annalen der Pharmacie, Band 21 (1837), 3. Heft, pp. 257-62.

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Time Traveler for xanthophyll

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The first known use of xanthophyll was in 1838

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Cite this Entry

“Xanthophyll.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/xanthophyll. Accessed 7 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for xanthophyll


xan·​tho·​phyll | \ ˈzan-thə-ˌfil How to pronounce xanthophyll (audio) \

Medical Definition of xanthophyll

: any of several neutral yellow to orange carotenoid pigments that are oxygen derivatives of carotenes especially : lutein

More from Merriam-Webster on xanthophyll

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about xanthophyll

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