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enzyme

[en-zahym]
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noun Biochemistry.
  1. any of various proteins, as pepsin, originating from living cells and capable of producing certain chemical changes in organic substances by catalytic action, as in digestion.
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Compare -ase.

Origin of enzyme

1880–85; < Medieval Greek énzymos leavened (Greek en- en-2 + zȳ́m(ē) leaven + -os adj. suffix)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

impetusmotivationincentivestimulantincitementreactionaryspurgoadincendiaryagitatorimpulseincitationreactantsynergistadjuvantenzymeyeastleavenfermentleavening

Examples from the Web for enzyme

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • If the products are removed, the action will continue, if the enzyme is not destroyed.

    The Fundamentals of Bacteriology

    Charles Bradfield Morrey

  • The enzyme must be specific for the protein since these differ in constitution.

    The Fundamentals of Bacteriology

    Charles Bradfield Morrey

  • By adding the enzyme maltase from yeast to a forty per cent.

  • Here a similar action is caused by an enzyme called ptyalin.

    A Civic Biology

    George William Hunter

  • This exchange appears to be aided by the presence of an enzyme in the lung tissues.

    A Civic Biology

    George William Hunter


British Dictionary definitions for enzyme

enzyme

noun
  1. any of a group of complex proteins or conjugated proteins that are produced by living cells and act as catalysts in specific biochemical reactions
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Derived Formsenzymatic (ˌɛnzaɪˈmætɪk, -zɪ-) or enzymic (ɛnˈzaɪmɪk, -ˈzɪm-), adjective

Word Origin

C19: from Medieval Greek enzumos leavened, from Greek en- ² + zumē leaven
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 enzyme

n.

1881, as a biochemical term, from German Enzym, coined 1878 by German physiologist Wilhelm Kühne (1837-1900), from Modern Greek enzymos "leavened," from en "in" (see en- (2)) + zyme "leaven" (see zymurgy).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

enzyme in Medicine

enzyme

(ĕnzīm)
n.
  1. Any of numerous proteins or conjugated proteins produced by living organisms and functioning as specialized catalysts for biochemical reactions.
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Related formsen′zy•matic (-zə-mătĭk) null adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

enzyme in Science

enzyme

[ĕnzīm]
  1. Any of numerous proteins produced in living cells that accelerate or catalyze the metabolic processes of an organism. Enzymes are usually very selective in the molecules that they act upon, called substrates, often reacting with only a single substrate. The substrate binds to the enzyme at a location called the active site just before the reaction catalyzed by the enzyme takes place. Enzymes can speed up chemical reactions by up to a millionfold, but only function within a narrow temperature and pH range, outside of which they can lose their structure and become denatured. Enzymes are involved in such processes as the breaking down of the large protein, starch, and fat molecules in food into smaller molecules during digestion, the joining together of nucleotides into strands of DNA, and the addition of a phosphate group to ADP to form ATP. The names of enzymes usually end in the suffix -ase.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

enzyme in Culture

enzyme

[(en-zeyem)]

A protein molecule that helps other organic molecules (see also organic molecule) enter into chemical reactions with one another but is itself unaffected by these reactions. In other words, enzymes act as catalysts for organic biochemical reactions.

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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.