One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A dark brown to black pigment occurring in the hair, skin, and iris of the eye in people and animals. It is responsible for tanning of skin exposed to sunlight.
- ‘When the skin is exposed to sunshine, it produces a brown pigment called melanin.’
- ‘The melanosomes convert tyrosine to melanin, giving skin its color.’
- ‘The body normally converts the amino acid tyrosine into the pigment melanin.’
- ‘One theory focuses on the fact that people with red hair have a different type of melanin (a skin pigment) than people with dark hair.’
- ‘Melanotan works by boosting melanin, the skin pigment that makes us brown and protects us against skin cancer.’
Mid 19th century: from Greek melas, melan- ‘black’ + -in.
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