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[uh-nab-uh-liz-uh m] /əˈnæb əˌlɪz əm/
noun, Biology, Physiology
constructive metabolism; the synthesis in living organisms of more complex substances from simpler ones (opposed to catabolism).
1885-90; ana- + (meta)bolism
Related forms
[an-uh-bol-ik] /ˌæn əˈbɒl ɪk/ (Show IPA),
hyperanabolic, adjective
hyperanabolism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for anabolic
  • Athletes have obviously been tempted to use performance enhancing anabolic steroids.
  • anabolic steroids are chemical relatives of testosterone.
  • When he asked them how they had gotten that way, they talked about taking anabolic steroids.
  • We have a wealth of data concerning, for example, androgenic anabolic steroids.
  • anabolic steroids are compounds that cause the body to build up muscle and other tissue.
  • Such individuals are prone to eating disorders and other unhealthy behaviors, including the use of anabolic steroids.
  • anabolic steroids, used for body-building and sports enhancement, also increase stroke risk.
British Dictionary definitions for anabolic


of or relating to anabolism


a metabolic process in which complex molecules are synthesized from simpler ones with the storage of energy; constructive metabolism Compare catabolism
Word Origin
C19: from ana- + (meta)bolism
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for anabolic

"pertaining to the process of building up (especially in metabolism)," 1876, from Greek anabole "that which is thrown up; a mound," from anaballein "to throw or toss up," from ana "up, upward" (see ana-) + ballein "to throw" (see ballistics).



1886; see anabolic + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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anabolic in Medicine

anabolism a·nab·o·lism (ə-nāb'ə-lĭz'əm)
The phase of metabolism in which simple substances are synthesized into the complex materials of living tissue.

an'a·bol'ic (ān'ə-bŏl'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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anabolic in Science
The phase of metabolism in which complex molecules, such as the proteins and fats that make up body tissue, are formed from simpler ones. Compare catabolism.

anabolic adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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anabolic in Culture

anabolism definition

The chemical reactions that synthesize molecules in metabolism. (Compare catabolism.)

Note: Athletes often attempt to improve their performance by speeding up this molecule-building process through the use of drugs called anabolic steroids, despite the potential health risks involved. This use is outlawed in many athletic competitions, such as the Olympic Games.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for anabolic


the sequences of enzyme-catalyzed reactions by which relatively complex molecules are formed in living cells from nutrients with relatively simple structures. Anabolic processes, which include the synthesis of such cell components as carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids, require energy in the form of energy-rich compounds (e.g., adenosine triphosphate) that are produced during breakdown processes (see catabolism). In growing cells, anabolic processes dominate over catabolic ones; in nongrowing cells, a balance exists between the two

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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