Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of a group of complex organic macromolecules that contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and usually sulfur and are composed of one or more chains of amino acids. Proteins are fundamental components of all living cells and include many substances, such as enzymes, hormones, and antibodies, that are necessary for the proper functioning of an organism. They are essential in the diet of animals for the growth and repair of tissue and can be obtained from foods such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, and legumes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of numerous large, complex naturally-produced molecules composed of one or more long chains of amino acids, in which the amino acid groups are held together by peptide bonds.
  • n. One of three major classes of food or source of food energy (4 kcal/gram) abundant in animal-derived foods (ie: meat) and some vegetables, such as legumes. see carbohydrate and fat for the other two major classes

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. In chemical analysis, the total nitrogenous material in vegetable or animal substances, obtained by multiplying the total nitrogen found by a factor, usually 6.25, assuming most proteids to contain approximately 16 per cent of nitrogen.
  • n. any polymer of an amino acid joined by peptide (amide) bonds. Most natural proteins have alpha-amino acids as the monomeric constituents. All classical enzymes are composed of protein, and control most of the biochemical transformations carrie dout in living cells. They may be soluble, as casein, albumins, and other globular proteins, or insoluble (e. g. "structural proteins"), as collagen or keratin. "albumin", an older term for protein, is now used primarily to refer to certain specific soluble globular proteins found in eggs or blood serum, e.g. bovine serum albumin, the main soluble protein in teh serum of cattle, used as an enzymatically inert protein in biochemical research.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A hypothetical substance formerly believed to be the essential nitrogenous constituent of food, and to exist in animal and vegetable albumin, fibrin, casein, and other bodies.
  • n. Collectively, the nitrogenous components of food, sometimes excluding and sometimes including certain gelatinoid and amidic substances which are without nutritive value or possess it in an inferior degree.
  • n. A trade-name for a dried preparation which consists essentially of the casein of milk: sold as a food material.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of a large group of nitrogenous organic compounds that are essential constituents of living cells; consist of polymers of amino acids; essential in the diet of animals for growth and for repair of tissues; can be obtained from meat and eggs and milk and legumes

Etymologies

French protéine, from Late Greek prōteios, of the first quality, from Greek prōtos, first; see per1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Suggested by Berzelius in a letter to Mulder, from French protéine and German Protein, both coined based on Ancient Greek πρωτεῖος (prōteios, "primary"), from πρῶτος (prōtos, "first"). (Wiktionary)

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