Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The chemical processes occurring within a living cell or organism that are necessary for the maintenance of life. In metabolism some substances are broken down to yield energy for vital processes while other substances, necessary for life, are synthesized.
  • n. The processing of a specific substance within the living body: water metabolism; iodine metabolism.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The complete set of chemical reactions that occur in living cells.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act or process, by which living tissues or cells take up and convert into their own proper substance the nutritive material brought to them by the blood, or by which they transform their cell protoplasm into simpler substances, which are fitted either for excretion or for some special purpose, as in the manufacture of the digestive enzymes. Hence, metabolism may be either constructive (anabolism), or destructive (catabolism).
  • n. The series of chemical changes which take place in an organism, by means of which food is manufactured and utilized and waste materials are eliminated.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In theology, the consensus of views of some of the early fathers in regard to the eucharist, favoring an objective union of the sensible with the supersensible, or the real with the symbolical presence.
  • n. In poetry, a change from one meter into another.
  • n. In entomology, metamorphosis; transformation; metaboly; transition from larva to pupa, or from pupa to imago.
  • n. In biology: The sum of the chemical changes within the body, or within any single cell of the body, by which the protoplasm is either renewed or changed to perform special functions, or else disorganized and prepared for excretion.
  • n. Especially, retrograde metamorphosis; catabolism.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the organic processes (in a cell or organism) that are necessary for life
  • n. the marked and rapid transformation of a larva into an adult that occurs in some animals

Etymologies

From Greek metabolē, change, from metaballein, to change : meta-, meta- + ballein, to throw; see gwelə- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek μεταβολή (metabolē, "change"), from μετά ("meta-") + βάλλω (ballō, "I throw"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • "He parked where the fire road turned off. Already the ground frost was so thick he could feel the cold through the soles of his shoes. The girl must have a different metabolism from him; in her thin sweater she seemed to be carrying summer around with her."
    - 'The Quiet Girl', Peter Høeg.

    March 18, 2008

  • The human body is subject to metabolism.

    March 14, 2007