from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The destruction of tissues or cells of an organism by the action of substances, such as enzymes, that are produced within the organism.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Self-dissolution; in physiology, self-digestion; autodigestion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun lysis of cells or tissues due to enzymatic activity from within the cell, as contrasted with externally induced lysis.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun pathology, cytology The destruction of an organism's cells by enzymes produced by the organism itself.
  • noun pathology The autodigestion of the tissues of an organism.
  • noun pathology The autocytolysis of blood cells.
  • noun The decomposition of dead yeast cells in wine after fermentation.

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

  • noun lysis of plant or animal tissue by an internal process


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • There are changes within the tissues that take place, something called autolysis (ph) begins, and bacteria start working on the body from outside and inside.

    CNN Transcript Aug 13, 2008

  • Dead cells release enzymes that trigger a process called autolysis that digests the embryo from within, and any bacteria in the neighborhood—and there are always bacteria around—descend on the tasty corpse and can turn it into a puddle of goo in almost no time at all.

    Taphonomy of fossilized embryos - The Panda's Thumb

  • Through a process called autolysis, the body has the ability to break down and absorb its own tissue.


  • It is a road novel that puts its plot and characters through a kind of autolysis, eventually collapsing under the violence the story has introduced.

    The New York Observer -

  • Toasty, bready compounds from yeast autolysis could also influence your perception of nuts.

    What We Drank (6/16/09)

  • A lot of the non-dosage Champagnes that I taste really seem to be missing their fruit flavors - all one gets is the soil and the yeast autolysis flavors and aromatics - both of which are intrinsic elements of Champagne, but without the fruit tones, the wines tend to be to my palate really rather austere and unenjoyable to drink.

    Natural wines, premox, chenin blanc, 07 Port and Rhone – John Gilman | Dr Vino's wine blog

  • Lysis, Mr. Klug, autolysis, Marmelzot chirped, devoting a full second to each of the four syllables.

    Fasting to a Comfortable Death

  • Stimulate a bit of autolysis, just enough to burn all the old damaged cells and diseased tissues.

    Fasting to a Comfortable Death

  • He felt his stomach rumbling but told himself it wasn't hunger, it was the autolysis kicking in.

    Fasting to a Comfortable Death

  • Synthesis of nitrous compounds after autolysis of yeasts (Russian), with S.P. Kostychev.

    Varvara Alexandrovna Brilliant-Lerman.


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  • And you wonder why Peta might be against animal testing...

    November 10, 2007

  • In long term animal toxicology studies, it is the reason why someone has to check the cages daily, even at the weekends. otherwise, the internal organs of an animal who bought the farm on a Saturday morning, say, would have reached a state of putrescence by Monday morning sufficiently advanced to preclude obtaining any useful histopathological information.

    November 10, 2007

  • Looms large in Mary Roach's Stiff.

    November 10, 2007