[proh-tee-eys, -eyz]

noun Biochemistry.

any of a group of enzymes that catalyze the hydrolytic degradation of proteins or polypeptides to smaller amino acid polymers.

Origin of protease

First recorded in 1900–05; prote(in) + -ase Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for protease

Contemporary Examples of protease

Historical Examples of protease

  • The best-known example of this type of enzymes is the protease of yeast; but similar ones may be found in germinating seeds.

    The Chemistry of Plant Life

    Roscoe Wilfred Thatcher

British Dictionary definitions for protease



any enzyme involved in proteolysis

Word Origin for protease

C20: from protein + -ase
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 protease

1903, from protein + -ase. Related: Proteolysis.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

protease in Medicine


[prōtē-ās′, -āz′]


Any of various enzymes, including the proteinases and peptidases, that catalyze the hydrolytic breakdown of proteins.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

protease in Science



Any of various enzymes that bring about the breakdown of proteins into peptides or amino acids by hydrolysis. Pepsin is an example of a protease.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.