Definition of metabolism in US English:



  • The chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life.

    Two kinds of metabolism are often distinguished: constructive metabolism, the synthesis of the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats that form tissue and store energy, and destructive metabolism, the breakdown of complex substances and the consequent production of energy and waste matter

    • ‘These fragments are possibly the consequence of metabolism in plasma or kidney.’
    • ‘These hormones are related to metabolism, and thus to nutritional and metabolic status.’
    • ‘There are three enzyme systems directly involved in sucrose metabolism.’
    • ‘Lysine metabolism in plants is regulated both by the rate of its synthesis and catabolism.’
    • ‘The research programme aims to examine the nucleotide metabolism of germinating plant seeds.’
    • ‘Soluble carbohydrates have a key regulatory role in carbohydrate metabolism.’
    • ‘It is also known that peroxisomal metabolism is lower in fish than in mammals.’
    • ‘This whole process of metabolism is analogous to filling a tank with fluid until it overflows.’
    • ‘Its function for anaerobic glycerol metabolism is unknown and in fact has not been studied so far.’
    • ‘Altered carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism leads to a catabolic state.’
    • ‘There are many examples in which hexose metabolism is required for sensing.’
    • ‘Dietary fructose effects on lipoprotein metabolism and risk for coronary artery disease.’
    • ‘One of the effects of flavonoids is the ability to modulate xenobiotic metabolism.’
    • ‘In addition to carbohydrate metabolism, other processes were affected by stress.’
    • ‘Nitrogen uptake and metabolism are central for vegetative and reproductive plant growth.’
    • ‘Seed germination is a developmental process of reactivation of metabolism to originate a new plant.’
    • ‘Cysteine represents the site at which sulphur enters amino acid metabolism.’
    • ‘Phenotypic variation can be brought about by altering hormone metabolism.’
    • ‘There appears to be a common logic that can be discerned behind the list of these pleiotropic changes in cell metabolism.’
    • ‘Legume seed development is closely related to metabolism and nutrient transport.’


Late 19th century: from Greek metabolē ‘change’ (from metaballein ‘to change’) + -ism.