[puh-pey-in, -pahy-in]
  1. Biochemistry. a proteolytic enzyme found in the fruit of the papaya tree, Carica papaya.
  2. Pharmacology. a commercial preparation of this used as a meat tenderizer and in medicine as a digestant.

Origin of papain

First recorded in 1885–90; papa(ya) + -in2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for papain

Historical Examples of papain

British Dictionary definitions for papain


  1. a proteolytic enzyme occurring in the unripe fruit of the papaya tree, Carica papaya: used as a meat tenderizer and in medicine as an aid to protein digestion

Word Origin for papain

C19: from papaya
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

papain in Medicine


[pə-pāĭn, -pīĭn]
  1. An enzyme, or a crude extract containing it, that digests protein, catalyzes the hydrolysis or transfer of esters, amides, or other chemical groups containing sulfur, and is used as a digestive aid.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.