[ pyoor-een, -in ]

nounChemistry, Biochemistry.
  1. a white, crystalline compound, C5H4N4, from which is derived a group of compounds including uric acid, xanthine, and caffeine.

  2. one of several purine derivatives, especially the bases adenine and guanine, which are fundamental constituents of nucleic acids.

Origin of purine

From the German word Purin, dating back to 1895–1900. See pure, uric, -ine2

Words Nearby purine

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for purine


purin (ˈpjʊərɪn)

/ (ˈpjʊəriːn) /

  1. a colourless crystalline solid that can be prepared from uric acid. Formula: C 5 H 4 N 4

  2. Also called: purine base any of a number of nitrogenous bases, such as guanine and adenine, that are derivatives of purine and constituents of nucleic acids and certain coenzymes

Origin of purine

C19: from German Purin; see pure, uric, -ine ²

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

Scientific definitions for purine


[ pyurēn′ ]

  1. Any of a group of organic compounds containing two fused rings of carbon and nitrogen atoms. One ring has six members, the other has five, and each has two nitrogens. Purines include a number of biologically important compounds, such as adenosine, caffeine, uric acid, and the two bases adenine and guanine, which are components of DNA and RNA.

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