[ aw-tol-uh-sis ]
/ ɔˈtɒl ə sɪs /

noun Biochemistry.

the breakdown of plant or animal tissue by the action of enzymes contained in the tissue affected; self-digestion.

Origin of autolysis

First recorded in 1900–05; auto-1 + -lysis

Related forms

au·to·lyt·ic [awt-l-it-ik] /ˌɔt lˈɪt ɪk/, adjective

Definition for autolyses (2 of 2)


[ awt-l-ahyz ]
/ ˈɔt lˌaɪz /

verb (used with object), au·to·lyzed, au·to·lyz·ing.

to cause to undergo autolysis.

verb (used without object), au·to·lyzed, au·to·lyz·ing.

to undergo autolysis.
Also especially British, au·to·lyse.

Origin of autolyze

1900–05; back formation from autolysis, on the model of analyze Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for autolyses


/ (ɔːˈtɒlɪsɪs) /


the destruction of cells and tissues of an organism by enzymes produced by the cells themselves

Derived Forms

autolytic (ˌɔːtəˈlɪtɪk), adjective

Word Origin for autolysis

C20: via German from Greek autos self + lusis loosening, release
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

Medicine definitions for autolyses


[ ô-tŏlĭ-sĭs ]


The destruction of tissues or cells of an organism by the action of substances, such as enzymes, that are produced within the organism.
Self-destruction of tissues within the living body.autodigestion
The hemolytic action of blood serum or plasma upon its own cells.autocytolysis

Related forms

au′to•lytic (ô′tə-lĭtĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.