• synonyms


or xan·tho·phyl

noun Biochemistry.
  1. lutein(def 1).
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Origin of xanthophyll

From the French word xanthophylle, dating back to 1830–40. See xantho-, -phyll
Related formsxan·tho·phyl·lous, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for xanthophyll

Historical Examples of xanthophyll

  • Xanthophyll: the yellow of autumn leaves; one of the substances found in the blood of insects.

    Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology

    John. B. Smith

  • To separate the carotin from xanthophyll place the ether solution in a small open dish and evaporate to a small volume.

    The Chemistry of Plant Life

    Roscoe Wilfred Thatcher

  • It is unlike carotin and xanthophyll in that it has basic properties, forming salts with acids, which are blue in color.

    The Chemistry of Plant Life

    Roscoe Wilfred Thatcher

British Dictionary definitions for xanthophyll


esp US xanthophyl

  1. any of a group of yellow carotenoid pigments occurring in plant and animal tissue
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Derived Formsxanthophyllous, adjective
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

xanthophyll in Science


  1. Any of various yellow pigments occurring in the leaves of plants and giving young shoots and late autumn leaves their characteristic color. This color is masked by chlorophyll when the leaf is mature. Xanthophylls aid in the absorption of light by capturing certain wavelengths not captured by chlorophyll and rapidly transferring the energy to chlorophyll by boosting one of its electrons to a higher energy level. Xanthophylls are carotenoids, differing from carotenes in having one or more oxygen-containing groups attached. See also carotene.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.