[ ey-tee-pee ]
/ ˈeɪˈtiˈpi /
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abbreviation, noun Biochemistry.
adenosine triphosphate: an ester of adenosine and triphosphoric acid, C10H12N5O4H4P3O9, formed especially aerobically by the reaction of ADP and an orthophosphate during oxidation, or by the interaction of ADP and phosphocreatine or certain other substrates, and serving as a source of energy for physiological reactions, especially muscle contraction.


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Origin of ATP

First recorded in 1940–45
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What else does ATP mean?

While it can stand for many things, the initialism ATP commonly stands for the Association of Tennis Professionals, the cell-powering chemical adenosine triphosphate, and at this point.

Where does ATP come from?

The Association of Tennis Professionals, or ATP, is the premier, international men’s tennis organization. It was founded in 1972 during the U.S. Open in Forest Hills in Queens, New York. The women’s equivalent is the WTA, or Women’s Tennis Association.

In science, ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate. This chemical, discovered in the 1920s, is important to all life. It stores and releases energy for many cellular processes. It is found in mitochondria.

Community College of Baltimore County

In digital communication, ATP can stand for at this point. This shorthand is often written lowercase as atp. It’s not clear exactly when this acronym came into use, but it spread online in the 2000s.

How is ATP used in real life?

The meaning of ATP depends on context.

If you’re at a tennis match, it’s pretty safe to say that ATP stands for the Association of Tennis Professionals.

Everyone from students in biology class to molecular biologists use ATP to refer to adenosine triphosphate. This is one of the most common uses of the acronym ATP.

Finally, atp for at this point is largely used on social media and in texting. It’s not as widespread, though, as the likes of LOL or OMG.

More examples of ATP:

“Tennis Australia and the ATP have revealed a new $US15 million ($A20.6 million) team competition which will act as a curtain-raiser to the 2020 season and be hosted in three yet-to-be determined Australian cities.”

Sydney Morning Herald, November 2018

How to use ATP in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ATP (1 of 2)


adenosine triphosphate; a nucleotide found in the mitochondria of all plant and animal cells. It is the major source of energy for cellular reactions, this energy being released during its conversion to ADP. Formula: C 10 H 16 N 5 O 13 P 3

British Dictionary definitions for ATP (2 of 2)


abbreviation for
advanced turboprop
Association of Tennis Professionals
automatic train protection: a safety system which automatically prevents a train from passing through a stop signal
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

Scientific definitions for ATP

[ ā′tē′pē ]

Short for adenosine triphosphate. An organic compound, C10H16N5O13P3, that is composed of adenosine and three phosphate groups. It serves as a source of energy for many metabolic processes. ATP releases energy when it is broken down into ADP by hydrolysis during cell metabolism.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for ATP


A key energy-carrying molecule in biological systems. It is produced in the body through the process of cell respiration and in plants through photosynthesis.

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.