lecithin

[les-uh-thin]
noun
  1. Biochemistry. any of a group of phospholipids, occurring in animal and plant tissues and egg yolk, composed of units of choline, phosphoric acid, fatty acids, and glycerol.
  2. a commercial form of this substance, obtained chiefly from soybeans, corn, and egg yolk, used in foods, cosmetics, and inks.

Origin of lecithin

1860–65; < Greek lékith(os) egg yolk + -in2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for lecithin

lecithin

noun
  1. biochem any of a group of phospholipids that are found in many plant and animal tissues, esp egg yolk: used in making candles, cosmetics, and inks, and as an emulsifier and stabilizer in foods (E322)Systematic name: phosphatidylcholine

Word Origin for lecithin

C19: from Greek lekithos egg yolk
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 lecithin
n.

fatty substance found in the yolks of eggs (among other places), 1861, from French lécithine (coined 1850 by N.T. Gobley), from Greek lekithos "egg yolk," + chemical suffix -ine (2). Greek lekithos is of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lecithin in Medicine

lecithin

[lĕsə-thĭn]
n.
  1. Any of a group of phospholipids that on hydrolysis yield two fatty acid molecules and a molecule each of glycerophosphoric acid and choline. They are found in nervous tissue, especially myelin sheaths and egg yolk, and in the plasma membrane of plant and animal cells.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

lecithin in Science

lecithin

[lĕsə-thĭn]
  1. A fatty substance present in most plant and animal tissues that is an important structural part of cell membranes, particularly in nervous tissue. It consists of a mixture of diglycerides of fatty acids (especially linoleic, palmitic, stearic, and oleic acid) linked to a phosphoric acid ester. Lecithin is used commercially in foods, cosmetics, paints, and plastics for its ability to form emulsions.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.