[ trip-tuh-fan ]

  1. an essential amino acid, (C8H6N)CH2CH(NH2)COOH, colorless, crystalline, and aromatic, released from proteins by tryptic digestion and a precursor of serotonin. Abbreviation: Trp; Symbol: W

Origin of tryptophan

1900–05; trypto- (irregular combining form representing Greek trīptós “rubbed”) + -phan(e)
  • Also tryp·to·phane [trip-tuh-feyn]. /ˈtrɪp təˌfeɪn/.

Words Nearby tryptophan Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use tryptophan in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for tryptophan


/ (ˈtrɪptəˌfæn) /

  1. an essential amino acid; a component of proteins necessary for growth

Origin of tryptophan

C20: from trypt (ic) + -o + -phan variant of -phane

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 tryptophan


[ trĭptə-făn′ ]

  1. An essential amino acid. Chemical formula: C11H12N2O2. See more at amino acid.

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