Definitions

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

  • n. Any of numerous proteins or conjugated proteins produced by living organisms and functioning as biochemical catalysts.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A globular protein that catalyses a biological chemical reaction.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A protein produced by a living organism, capable of catalyzing a chemical reaction. Almost all processes in living organisms require some form of enzyme to cause the reactions to occur at a rate sufficient to support life. There are a very wide variety of enzymes, each specifically catalyzing a different chemical reaction, the sum of which cause the bulk of the physiological changes observed as life processes. Enzymes, like most proteins, are synthesized by the protein-synthetic mechanism of the living cell, at special sites on ribosomes, using the genetic information in messenger RNA transcribed from the genetic instructions stored as nuleotide sequences in the DNA (or in some viruses, the RNA) of the genome. Some examples of enzymes are: pepsin, diastase, rennet, DNA polymerase, invertase, glucose oxidase, protease, and ribonuclease. There are many other types of enzyme.

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

  • n. any of several complex proteins that are produced by cells and act as catalysts in specific biochemical reactions

Etymologies

German Enzym, from Medieval Greek enzūmos, leavened : Greek en-, in; see en-2 + Greek zūmē, leaven, yeast.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From German Enzym, created in 1878, by the German physiologist Wilhelm Kühne from Ancient Greek ἐν (en, "in") and ζύμη (zýmē, "sourdough"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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