• synonyms


  1. Biochemistry. a soft, yellow powder of simple proteins obtained from corn, used chiefly in the manufacture of textile fibers, plastics, and paper coatings.
  2. a synthetic fiber produced from this protein.
Show More

Origin of zein

1815–25; < New Latin Ze(a) the maize genus (Latin: emmer < Greek zeiá barley, wheat; cognate with Sanskrit yáva grain) + -in2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for zein

Historical Examples

  • When he beheld her, she pleased him and he turned to Zein ul Asnam and said to him.

    Alaeddin and the Enchanted Lamp

    John Payne

  • When he came in to Zein ul Asnam, the latter rose to him and received him with the utmost reverence.

  • The protein of corn, zein, for example, was shown to be incapable of supporting life.

  • The protein of wheat is called gluten—that of Indian corn is zein—that of beans and peas is legumin.

  • Examples of these proteins may be seen in the gliadin of wheat, zein of corn, and hordein of barley.

    Dietetics for Nurses

    Fairfax T. Proudfit

British Dictionary definitions for zein


  1. a protein of the prolamine group occurring in maize and used in the manufacture of plastics, paper coatings, adhesives, etc
Show More

Word Origin

C19: from New Latin zēa maize, from Latin: a kind of grain, from Greek zeia barley
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 zein


1822, from zea, Late Latin name for "spelt," from Greek zeia.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper