• synonyms


[in-di-kuh n]
  1. a glucoside, C14H17NO6, that occurs in plants yielding indigo and from which indigo is obtained.
  2. Biochemistry. indoxyl potassium sulfate, C8H6NO4SK, a component of urine.
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Origin of indican

1855–60; < Latin indic(um) indigo + -an
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for indican

Historical Examples

  • Potassium indoxyl sulphate, or indican, is derived from indol.

    A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis

    James Campbell Todd

  • Intestinal obstruction gives the largest amounts of indican.

  • Simple constipation and diseases of the large intestine alone do not increase the amount of indican.

  • Indican is readily extracted from the leaves of various species of indigo plants.

    The Chemistry of Plant Life

    Roscoe Wilfred Thatcher

  • The blue dye, indigo, is derived from a glucoside of an entirely different type, known as indican.

    The Chemistry of Plant Life

    Roscoe Wilfred Thatcher

British Dictionary definitions for indican


  1. a compound secreted in the urine, usually in the form of its potassium salt; indoxylsulphuric acid. Formula: C 8 H 6 NOSO 2 OH
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Word Origin

C19: from Latin indicum indigo + -an
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

indican in Medicine


  1. A potassium salt found in sweat and urine and formed by the conversion of tryptophan to indole by intestinal bacteria.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.