- 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.
Origin of chitin
Examples from the Web for chitinous
Armatus: set with spines, claws or other chitinous processes.
Scutes: the chitinous shields or plates on the segments of larvae.
The chitinous covering of this harvesting-ant is firm and hard.
The chitinous object he had picked up now shook and quivered of itself.Nightmare Planet
The uneasy rustling of chitinous arms against white robes recalled him from his meditation.The Worshippers
Damon Francis Knight
- a polysaccharide that is the principal component of the exoskeletons of arthropods and of the bodies of fungi
Word Origin and History for chitinous
1836, from French chitine, from Greek khiton "frock, tunic," of soldiers, "coat of mail," used metaphorically for "any coat or covering." "Probably an Oriental word" [Liddell & Scott]. Klein compares Hebrew kuttoneth, Aramaic kittana, Arabic kattan "linen."
- A tough, protective, semitransparent polysaccharide forming the principal component of arthropod exoskeletons and the cell walls of certain fungi.
- 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).