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melanin

[ mel-uh-nin ]
/ ˈmɛl ə nɪn /
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noun
any of a class of insoluble pigments, found in all forms of animal life, that account for the dark color of skin, hair, fur, scales, feathers, etc.
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Origin of melanin

First recorded in 1835–45; melan- + -in2

OTHER WORDS FROM melanin

mel·a·nin·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use melanin in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for melanin

melanin
/ (ˈmɛlənɪn) /

noun
any of a group of black or dark brown pigments present in the hair, skin, and eyes of man and animals: produced in excess in certain skin diseases and in melanomas
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

Scientific definitions for melanin

melanin
[ mĕlə-nĭn ]

Any of various pigments that are responsible for the dark color of the skin, hair, scales, feathers, and eyes of animals and are also found in plants, fungi, and bacteria. Melanins are polymers, often bound to proteins, and in the animal kingdom are built from compounds produced by the oxidation of the amino acid tyrosine.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for melanin

melanin
[ (mel-uh-nin) ]

A dark brown coloring found in the body, especially in the skin and hair. Produced by special skin cells that are sensitive to sunlight, melanin protects the body by absorbing ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

notes for melanin

The amount of melanin present in the skin determines the color of a person's complexion: people with a large amount have dark skin, whereas those with very little have fair skin. Melanin is also responsible for tanning.
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.
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