[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. autologous graft,
  2. autolycus,
  3. autolysate,
  4. autolyse,
  5. autolysin,
  6. autolytic enzyme,
  7. autolyze,
  8. automagical,
  9. automagically,
  10. automaker

Origin of autolysis

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

Related formsau·to·lyt·ic [awt-l-it-ik] /ˌɔt lˈɪt ɪk/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for autolytic

British Dictionary definitions for autolytic


/ (ɔːˈtɒlɪsɪs) /


the destruction of cells and tissues of an organism by enzymes produced by the cells themselves
Derived Formsautolytic (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 autolytic


[ 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 formsau′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.