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[uh-nab-uh-liz-uh m] /əˈnæb əˌlɪz əm/
noun, Biology, Physiology.
constructive metabolism; the synthesis in living organisms of more complex substances from simpler ones (opposed to catabolism).
Origin of anabolism
First recorded in 1885-90; ana- + (meta)bolism
Related forms
[an-uh-bol-ik] /ˌæn əˈbɒl ɪk/ (Show IPA),
hyperanabolic, adjective
hyperanabolism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for anabolic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For money is the sinews of anabolic and Katabolic warfare also.

    Gray youth Oliver Onions
  • Menstruation, reproduction, and lactation are at once the cause of an anabolic surplus and the means of getting rid of it.

    Sex and Society

    William I. Thomas
  • Both katabolic and anabolic changes share in the depression, and though less energy is used up, still less energy is generated.

  • Amory called these fiends and angels the anabolic and the Katabolic forces in human progress.

    Gray youth Oliver Onions
  • It used to be said that the male was more "katabolic," the female more "anabolic."

    Taboo and Genetics

    Melvin Moses Knight, Iva Lowther Peters, and Phyllis Mary Blanchard
  • anabolic: the constructive change from food material to animal tissue: see katabolic.

  • As stated by its authors the theory is, that the female is everywhere "anabolic," as compared with the male, which is "katabolic."

British Dictionary definitions for anabolic


of or relating to anabolism


a metabolic process in which complex molecules are synthesized from simpler ones with the storage of energy; constructive metabolism Compare catabolism
Word Origin
C19: from ana- + (meta)bolism
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for anabolic

"pertaining to the process of building up (especially in metabolism)," 1876, from Greek anabole "that which is thrown up; a mound," from anaballein "to throw or toss up," from ana "up, upward" (see ana-) + ballein "to throw" (see ballistics).



1886; see anabolic + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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anabolic in Medicine

anabolism a·nab·o·lism (ə-nāb'ə-lĭz'əm)
The phase of metabolism in which simple substances are synthesized into the complex materials of living tissue.

an'a·bol'ic (ān'ə-bŏl'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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anabolic in Science
The phase of metabolism in which complex molecules, such as the proteins and fats that make up body tissue, are formed from simpler ones. Compare catabolism.

anabolic adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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anabolic in Culture

anabolism definition

The chemical reactions that synthesize molecules in metabolism. (Compare catabolism.)

Note: Athletes often attempt to improve their performance by speeding up this molecule-building process through the use of drugs called anabolic steroids, despite the potential health risks involved. This use is outlawed in many athletic competitions, such as the Olympic Games.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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