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

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


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