international unit

noun Pharmacology.

an internationally agreed upon standard, as measured by bioassay, to which samples of a substance, as a drug or hormone, are compared to ascertain their relative potency.
the particular quantity of such a substance, which causes a specific biological effect. Abbreviation: IU

Origin of international unit

First recorded in 1920–25 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

international unit in Medicine

international unit


The quantity of a biologically active substance, such as a hormone or vitamin, required to produce a specific response.
A unit of potency for similarly active substances, based on this quantity and accepted as an international standard.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

international unit in Science

international unit

A unit for measuring a biologically active substance, such as a hormone or vitamin.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.