[in-suh-lin, ins-yuh-]


Biochemistry. a polypeptide hormone, produced by the beta cells of the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas, that regulates the metabolism of glucose and other nutrients.
Pharmacology. any of several commercial preparations of this substance, each of which allows a particular rate of absorption into the system: genetically engineered or obtained from the pig or ox pancreas, and used in the treatment of diabetes to restore the normal ability of the body to utilize sugars and other carbohydrates.

Origin of insulin

First recorded in 1910–15; insul(a) + -in2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for insulin

Contemporary Examples of insulin

Historical Examples of insulin

  • Hypoglycemia, or hyperinsulism, which affects perhaps as many as five million Americans, is caused by overproduction of insulin.

British Dictionary definitions for insulin



a protein hormone, secreted in the pancreas by the islets of Langerhans, that controls the concentration of glucose in the blood. Insulin deficiency results in diabetes mellitus

Word Origin for insulin

C20: from New Latin insula islet (of the pancreas) + -in
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 insulin

1922 (earlier insuline, 1914), coined in English from Latin insula "island," so called because the hormone is secreted by the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. Insuline was coined independently in French in 1909.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

insulin in Medicine




A polypeptide hormone that is secreted by the islets of Langerhans, helps regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, especially the conversion of glucose to glycogen, and promotes protein synthesis and the formation and storage of neutral lipids.
Any of various pharmaceutical preparations containing this hormone that are derived from the pancreas of certain animals or produced through genetic engineering and are used parenterally in the medical treatment and management of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

insulin in Science



A hormone produced in the pancreas that regulates the amount of sugar in the blood by stimulating cells, especially liver and muscle cells, to absorb and metabolize glucose. Insulin also stimulates the conversion of blood glucose into glycogen and fat, which are the body's chief sources of stored carbohydrates.
A drug containing this hormone, obtained from the pancreas of animals or produced synthetically and used to treat diabetes.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

insulin in Culture


[(in-suh-lin, in-syuh-lin)]

A hormone secreted by the pancreas that regulates the levels of sugar in the blood.


Persons suffering from diabetes mellitus may receive periodic or daily injections of insulin as a treatment for the disease.
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.