cholesterol

[kuh-les-tuh-rohl, -rawl]
noun Biochemistry.
  1. a sterol, C27H46O, that occurs in all animal tissues, especially in the brain, spinal cord, and adipose tissue, functioning chiefly as a protective agent in the skin and myelin sheaths of nerve cells, a detoxifier in the bloodstream, and as a precursor of many steroids: deposits of cholesterol form in certain pathological conditions, as gallstones and atherosclerotic plaques.
  2. the commercial form of this compound, obtained from the spinal cord of cattle, used chiefly as an emulsifying agent in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, and in the synthesis of vitamin D.
Also cho·les·ter·in [kuh-les-ter-in] /kəˈlɛs tər ɪn/.

Origin of cholesterol

1890–95; chole- + Greek ster(eós) solid + -ol1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cholesterol

Contemporary Examples of cholesterol

Historical Examples of cholesterol

  • Cholesterol was a little below normal in the four cases examined.

    Scurvy Past and Present

    Alfred Fabian Hess

  • Cholesterol is frequently found in animal fats, and phytosterol is a very similar substance present in vegetable fats.

  • The cholesterol in linseed or fish oil, which of course may be present in the soap, also give this reaction.

    Soap-Making Manual

    E. G. Thomssen


British Dictionary definitions for cholesterol

cholesterol

noun
  1. a sterol found in all animal tissues, blood, bile, and animal fats: a precursor of other body steroids. A high level of cholesterol in the blood is implicated in some cases of atherosclerosis, leading to heart disease. Formula: C 27 H 45 OHFormer name: cholesterin (kəˈlɛstərɪn)

Word Origin for cholesterol

C19: from chole- + Greek stereos hard, solid, so called because first observed in gallstones
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

Word Origin and History for cholesterol
n.

white, solid substance present in body tissues, 1894, earlier cholesterin, from French cholestrine (Chevreul, 1827), from Greek khole "bile" (see cholera) + steros "solid, stiff" (see sterility). So called because originally found in gallstones (Conradi, 1775). The name was changed to the modern form (with chemical suffix -ol, denoting an alcohol) after the compound was discovered to be a secondary alcohol.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cholesterol in Medicine

cholesterol

[kə-lĕstə-rôl′, -rōl′]
n.
  1. A white crystalline substance found in animal tissues and various foods, normally synthesized by the liver and important as a constituent of cell membranes and a precursor to steroid hormones. Its level in the bloodstream can influence the pathogenesis of certain conditions, such as the development of atherosclerotic plaque and coronary artery disease.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

cholesterol in Science

cholesterol

[kə-lĕstə-rôl′]
  1. A sterol found widely in animal and plant tissues. It is a main component of blood plasma and cell membranes, and it is an important precursor of many steroid hormones (such as the estrogens, testosterone, and cortisol), vitamin D2, and bile acids. In vertebrates, cholesterol is manufactured by the liver or absorbed from food in the intestine. Higher than normal amounts of cholesterol in the blood are associated with higher risk for developing coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis. Chemical formula: C27H46O. See also high-density lipoprotein low-density lipoprotein.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

cholesterol in Culture

cholesterol

[(kuh-les-tuh-rawl, kuh-les-tuh-rohl)]

A white soapy substance found in the tissues of the body and in certain foods, such as animal fats, oils, and egg yolks. Cholesterol has been linked to heart disease and atherosclerosis. (It collects on the walls of arteries and interferes with the flow of blood.) High levels of cholesterol in the blood are considered to be unhealthy. (See saturated fats, HDL, and LDL.)

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.