[ pek-tin ]
/ ˈpɛk tɪn /

noun Biochemistry.

a white, amorphous, colloidal carbohydrate of high molecular weight occurring in ripe fruits, especially in apples, currants, etc., and used in fruit jellies, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics for its thickening and emulsifying properties and its ability to solidify to a gel.

Nearby words

  1. pecten band,
  2. pectenitis,
  3. pectenosis,
  4. pectic,
  5. pectic acid,
  6. pectinaceous,
  7. pectinate,
  8. pectinate line,
  9. pectinate muscle,
  10. pectinate zone

Origin of pectin

1830–40; < Greek pēkt(ós) fixed, congealed (see pectic) + -in2

Related formspec·ti·na·ceous [pek-tuh-ney-shuh s] /ˌpɛk təˈneɪ ʃəs/, pec·tin·ous, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pectin

British Dictionary definitions for pectin


/ (ˈpɛktɪn) /


biochem any of the acidic hemicelluloses that occur in ripe fruit and vegetables: used in the manufacture of jams because of their ability to solidify to a gel when heated in a sugar solution (may be referred to on food labels as E440 (a))
Derived Formspectic or pectinous, adjective

Word Origin for pectin

C19: from Greek pēktos congealed, from pegnuein to set

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 pectin



polysaccharide found in fruit and vegetables, crucial in forming jellies and jams, 1838, from French pectine, coined early 1830s by French chemist Henri Braconnot (1781-1855) from acide pectique "pectic acid," a constituent of fruit jellies, from Greek pektikos "curdling, congealing," from pektos "curdled, congealed," from pegnynai "to make stiff or solid," from PIE root *pag-/*pak- "to join together" (see pact). Related: Pectic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for pectin


[ pĕktĭn ]


Any of a group of water-soluble colloidal carbohydrates of high molecular weight found in ripe fruits, such as apples, plums, and grapefruit, and used to jell various foods, drugs, and cosmetics.

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

Science definitions for pectin


[ pĕktĭn ]

Any of a group of carbohydrate substances found in the cell walls of plants and in the tissue between certain plant cells. Pectin is produced by the ripening of fruit and helps the ripe fruit remain firm. As the fruit overripens, the pectin breaks down into simple sugars (monosaccharides) and the fruit loses its shape and becomes soft. Pectins can be made to form gels, and are used in certain medicines and cosmetics and in making jellies.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.