definitions
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melanin

[ mel-uh-nin ]
/ ˈmɛl ə nɪn /
|

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.

Nearby words

melanesian pidgin english, melange, melanic, melanie, melaniferous, melanin, melanion, melanippus, melanism, melanite, melanitic

Origin of melanin

First recorded in 1835–45; melan- + -in2
Related formsmel·a·nin·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for melanin

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

Word Origin and History for melanin

melanin


n.

dark brown or black pigment found in animal bodies, 1832, Modern Latin, with chemical suffix -in (2); first element from Greek melas (genitive melanos) "black," from PIE root *mel- "dark, soiled, dirty" (cf. Sanskrit malinah "dirty, stained, black," Lithuanian melynas "blue," Latin mulleus "reddish"). Related: Melanism; melanistic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for melanin

melanin

[ mĕlə-nĭn ]

n.

Any of a group of naturally occurring dark pigments composed of granules of highly irregular polymers that usually contain nitrogen or sulfur atoms, especially the pigment found in skin, hair, fur, and feathers.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science 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.

Culture 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.

Note

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.