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chitin

[ kahy-tin ]
/ ˈkaɪ tɪn /
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noun Biochemistry.
a nitrogen-containing polysaccharide, related chemically to cellulose, that forms a semitransparent horny substance and is a principal constituent of the exoskeleton, or outer covering, of insects, crustaceans, and arachnids.

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Origin of chitin

1830–40; <French chitine<Greek chit(ṓn) tunic, chiton + French -ine-in2

OTHER WORDS FROM chitin

chi·tin·ous, chi·tin·oid, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use chitin in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for chitin

chitin
/ (ˈkaɪtɪn) /

noun
a polysaccharide that is the principal component of the exoskeletons of arthropods and of the bodies of fungi

Derived forms of chitin

chitinous, adjectivechitinoid, adjective

Word Origin for chitin

C19: from French chitine, from Greek khitōn chiton + -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

Scientific definitions for chitin

chitin
[ kītn ]

A tough, semitransparent substance that is the main component of the exoskeletons of arthropods, such as the shells of crustaceans and the outer coverings of insects. Chitin is also found in the cell walls of certain fungi and algae. Chemically, it is a nitrogenous polysaccharide (a carbohydrate).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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