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  1. Biochemistry. a polysaccharide, occurring in various tissues, especially the liver, and having anticoagulent properties.
  2. Pharmacology. a commercial form of this substance, obtained from the liver and lungs of domesticated food animals, that when injected into the blood prevents coagulation: used chiefly in the treatment of thrombosis.

Origin of heparin

1915–20; < Greek hêpar the liver + -in2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for heparin


  1. a polysaccharide, containing sulphate groups, present in most body tissues: an anticoagulant used in the treatment of thrombosis
Derived Formsheparinoid, adjective

Word Origin

C20: from Greek hēpar the liver + -in
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

Word Origin and History for heparin


substance found in the liver, lungs and other tissues, 1918, from Greek hepar "liver" (see hepatitis) + -in (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

heparin in Medicine


([object Object])
  1. A complex organic acid that is found especially in lung and liver tissue, has a mucopolysaccharide as its active constituent, prevents platelet agglutination and blood clotting, and is used in the form of its sodium salt in the treatment of thrombosis.
Related formshep′a•rin′i•zation (-ə-rĭn′ĭ-zāshən) n.hepa•rin•ize′ (-ər-ə-nīz′) v.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

heparin in Science


  1. An acidic glycosaminoglycan found especially in lung and liver tissue that prevents the clotting of blood and is used intravenously in the treatment of thrombosis and embolism.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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