Definition of enzyme in English:



  • A substance produced by a living organism which acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction.

    • ‘It is clear that cells have a variety of relatively specific enzymes able to degrade these compounds.’
    • ‘They can act as real enzymes and, by analogy to protein enzymes, are called ribozymes.’
    • ‘This is probably due to the presence of other enzymes besides the protease.’
    • ‘Among these anaerobic proteins are enzymes involved in glycolysis and related processes.’
    • ‘It appears to be due, in large part, to the activity of a specific enzyme, cytokinin oxidase.’

Most enzymes are proteins with large complex molecules whose action depends on their particular molecular shape. Some enzymes control reactions within cells and some, such as the enzymes involved in digestion, outside them


Late 19th century: coined in German from modern Greek enzumos ‘leavened’, from en- ‘within’ + Greek zumē ‘leaven’.