vitamin

[vahy-tuh-min; British also vit-uh-min]
See more synonyms for vitamin on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. any of a group of organic substances essential in small quantities to normal metabolism, found in minute amounts in natural foodstuffs or sometimes produced synthetically: deficiencies of vitamins produce specific disorders.
Also vi·ta·mine [vahy-tuh-min, -meen; British also vit-uh-min, -meen] /ˈvaɪ tə mɪn, -ˌmin; British also ˈvɪt ə mɪn, -ˌmin/.

Origin of vitamin

1912; earlier vitamine < Latin vīt(a) life + amine; coined by C. Funk, who thought they were amines
Related formsvi·ta·min·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for vitamin

food, fiber, vitamin, mineral, nutriment

Examples from the Web for vitamin

Contemporary Examples of vitamin

Historical Examples of vitamin

  • The name "vitamin" has been given to these substances, but little is known about their chemical or physiological nature.

    Food Poisoning

    Edwin Oakes Jordan

  • Instead of a camera he found a device for distilling fresh water from salt, some iron rations, and a small bottle of vitamin B1.

  • Moreover, he had isolated a vitamin in this protein not found in any of man's present foods.

  • Well, we've now discovered that this vitamin can condition the human body to stay under water indefinitely.

  • Iron deficiency can cause anemia, as can vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency.


British Dictionary definitions for vitamin

vitamin

noun
  1. any of a group of substances that are essential, in small quantities, for the normal functioning of metabolism in the body. They cannot usually be synthesized in the body but they occur naturally in certain foods: insufficient supply of any particular vitamin results in a deficiency disease
Derived Formsvitaminic, adjective

Word Origin for vitamin

C20: vit- from Latin vīta life + -amin from amine; so named by Casimir Funk, who believed the substances to be amines
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 vitamin
n.

1920, originally vitamine (1912) coined by Polish biochemist Casimir Funk (1884-1967), from Latin vita "life" (see vital) + amine, because they were thought to contain amino acids. The terminal -e formally was stripped off when scientists learned the true nature of the substance; -in was acceptable because it was used for neutral substances of undefined composition. The lettering system of nomenclature (Vitamin A, B, C, etc.) was introduced at the same time (1920).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

vitamin in Medicine

vitamin

[vītə-mĭn]
n.
  1. Any of various fat-soluble or water-soluble organic substances essential in minute amounts for normal growth and activity of the body and obtained naturally from plant and animal foods.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

vitamin in Science

vitamin

[vītə-mĭn]
  1. Any of various organic compounds that are needed in small amounts for normal growth and activity of the body. Most vitamins cannot be synthesized by the body, but are found naturally in foods obtained from plants and animals. Vitamins are either water-soluble or fat-soluble. Most water-soluble vitamins, such as the vitamin B complex, act as catalysts and coenzymes in metabolic processes and energy transfer and are excreted fairly rapidly. Fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, and E are necessary for the function or structural integrity of specific body tissues and membranes and are retained in the body.
A Closer Look: Although it has been known for thousands of years that certain diseases can be treated with specific foods, the scientific link between vitamins and good health wasn't made until the early 1900s by Polish-born American biochemist Casimir Funk. While studying beriberi, a disease that causes depression, fatigue, and nerve damage, Funk discovered an organic compound in rice husks that prevents the illness. He named the compound vitamine, derived from the chemical name amine and the Latin word vita, "life," because vitamins are required for life and were originally thought to be amines. Funk's compound is now known as vitamin B1, or thiamine. His research and discovery led him, along with English biochemist Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, to propose the vitamin hypothesis of deficiency, which stated that certain diseases, such as scurvy or rickets, are caused by dietary deficiencies and can be avoided by taking vitamins. Further research allowed scientists to isolate and identify the vitamins that we know today to be essential for human health. Vitamins include A, C, D, E, K, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, B12, folic acid, biotin, and pantothenic acid. Vitamins are distinguished from minerals, such as calcium, iron, and magnesium, which are also essential for optimum health.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.