[ glahy-kuh-juh n, -jen ]
/ ˈglaɪ kə dʒən, -ˌdʒɛn /

noun Biochemistry.

a white, tasteless polysaccharide, (C6H10O5)n, molecularly similar to starch, constituting the principal carbohydrate storage material in animals and occurring chiefly in the liver, in muscle, and in fungi and yeasts.

Nearby words

  1. glyco-,
  2. glycocalyx,
  3. glycocholate,
  4. glycocholic acid,
  5. glycocoll,
  6. glycogen acanthosis,
  7. glycogen granule,
  8. glycogen storage disease,
  9. glycogen synthase,
  10. glycogenesis

Origin of glycogen

First recorded in 1855–60; glyco- + -gen

Also called animal starch. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for glycogen

British Dictionary definitions for glycogen


/ (ˈɡlaɪkəʊdʒən, -dʒɛn) /


a polysaccharide consisting of glucose units: the form in which carbohydrate is stored in the liver and muscles in man and animals. It can easily be hydrolysed to glucoseAlso called: animal starch
Derived Formsglycogenic (ˌɡlaɪkəʊˈdʒɛnɪk), adjective

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 glycogen



starch-like substance found in the liver and animal tissue, 1860, from French glycogène, "sugar-producer," from Greek glykys "sweet" (see glucose) + French -gène (see -gen). Coined in 1848 by French physiologist Claude Bernard (1813-1878).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for glycogen


[ glīkə-jən ]


A polysaccharide that is the main form of carbohydrate storage in animals and occurs mainly in liver and muscle tissue; it is readily converted to glucose.animal starch
Related formsgly′co•genic (-jĕnĭk) adj.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for glycogen


[ glīkə-jən ]

A polysaccharide stored in animal liver and muscle cells that is easily converted to glucose to meet metabolic energy requirements. Most of the carbohydrate energy stored in animal cells is in the form of glycogen.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.