[ met-uh-bol-ik ]
/ ˌmɛt əˈbɒl ɪk /


of, relating to, or affected by metabolism.
undergoing metamorphosis.

Nearby words

  1. meta-dichlorobenzene,
  2. meta-ethics,
  3. metabasis,
  4. metabiosis,
  5. metabisulfite test,
  6. metabolic acidosis,
  7. metabolic alkalosis,
  8. metabolic coma,
  9. metabolic craniopathy,
  10. metabolic equivalent

Origin of metabolic

1735–45; < Greek metabolikós changeable, equivalent to metabol(ḗ) (see metabolism) + -ikos -ic

Related formsmet·a·bol·i·cal·ly, adverbhy·per·met·a·bol·ic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for metabolic

Word Origin and History for metabolic



1845 in biological sense, from German metabolisch (1839), from Greek metabolikos "changeable," from metabole "a change, changing, a transition" (see metabolism). Used earlier in a general sense of "involving change" (1743). Related: Metabolically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for metabolic


[ mĕt′ə-bŏlĭk ]


Of, relating to, or resulting from metabolism.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for metabolic


[ mĭ-tăbə-lĭz′əm ]

The chemical processes by which cells produce the substances and energy needed to sustain life. As part of metabolism, organic compounds are broken down to provide heat and energy in the process called catabolism. Simpler molecules are also used to build more complex compounds like proteins for growth and repair of tissues as part of anabolism. Many metabolic processes are brought about by the action of enzymes. The overall speed at which an organism carries out its metabolic processes is termed its metabolic rate (or, when the organism is at rest, its basal metabolic rate). Birds, for example, have a high metabolic rate, since they are warm-blooded, and their usual method of locomotion, flight, requires large amounts of energy. Accordingly, birds usually need large amounts of high-quality, energy-rich foods such as seeds or meat, which they must eat frequently. See more at cellular respiration.
Related formsmetabolic adjective (mĕt′ə-bŏlĭk)

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.