[uh-nab-uh-liz-uh m]

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 formsan·a·bol·ic [an-uh-bol-ik] /ˌæn əˈbɒl ɪk/, adjectivehy·per·an·a·bol·ic, adjectivehy·per·a·nab·o·lism, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for anabolic

Contemporary Examples of anabolic

Historical Examples of anabolic

  • 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

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 metabolismCompare catabolism

Word Origin for anabolism

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

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

anabolic in Medicine




The phase of metabolism in which simple substances are synthesized into the complex materials of living tissue.
Related formsan′a•bolic (ăn′ə-bŏlĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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.
Related formsanabolic adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

anabolic in Culture


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


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.