[ pol-uh-muh-reys, -reyz ]
/ ˈpɒl ə məˌreɪs, -ˌreɪz /

noun Biochemistry.

any of several enzymes that catalyze the formation of a long-chain molecule by linking smaller molecular units, as nucleotides with nucleic acids.

Nearby words

  1. polymathy,
  2. polymelia,
  3. polymenorrhea,
  4. polymer,
  5. polymer fume fever,
  6. polymeria,
  7. polymeric,
  8. polymerism,
  9. polymerization,
  10. polymerize

Origin of polymerase

First recorded in 1955–60; polymer + -ase

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for polymerase


/ (pəˈlɪməreɪz) /


any enzyme that catalyses the synthesis of a polymer, esp the synthesis of DNA or RNA
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 polymerase



1866, coined by Berzelius (1830) from Greek polymeres "having many parts" (see polymer).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for polymerase


[ pŏlə-mə-rās′, -rāz′ ]


Any of various enzymes that catalyze polymerization, especially those that catalyze the synthesis of polynucleotides of DNA or RNA using an existing strand of DNA or RNA as a template.

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

Science definitions for polymerase


[ pə-lĭmə-rās′, pŏlə-mə-rās′ ]

Any of various enzymes, such as DNA polymerase, RNA polymerase, or reverse transcriptase, that catalyze the formation of sequences of DNA or RNA using an existing strand of DNA or RNA as a template.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.