Definition of ribose in US English:



  • A sugar of the pentose class which occurs widely in nature as a constituent of nucleosides and several vitamins and enzymes.

    • ‘The basic structure of a nucleotide contains ribose with a nitrogenous base and a phosphate group.’
    • ‘Sugars are vital components of life, e.g. the 5-carbon sugars ribose and deoxyribose are part of the skeletons of our information storage molecules, RNA and DNA respectively.’
    • ‘Another difference between DNA and RNA is that RNA contains ribose, rather than deoxyribose.’
    • ‘In undiluted samples, ribose, fructose, rhamnose, glucose, and one unidentified sugar were detected at low concentrations (data not shown).’
    • ‘A nucleotide is a combination of a ribose or deoxyribose sugar, a purine or pyrimidine base, and a phosphate group.’


Late 19th century: arbitrary alteration of arabinose, a related sugar.