[bil-uh-roo-bin, bil-uh-roo-bin]
noun Biochemistry.
a reddish bile pigment, C 33 H 36 O 6 N 4 , resulting from the degradation of heme by reticuloendothelial cells in the liver: a high level in the blood produces the yellow skin symptomatic of jaundice.

< German Bilirubin (1864), equivalent to Latin bīli(s) bile + rub(er) red + German -in -in2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To bilirubin
World English Dictionary
bilirubin (ˌbɪlɪˈruːbɪn, ˌbaɪ-)
an orange-yellow pigment in the bile formed as a breakdown product of haemoglobin. Excess amounts in the blood produce the yellow appearance associated with jaundice. Formula: C32H36O6N4
[C19: from bile1 + Latin ruber red + -in]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

"reddish pigment found in bile," 1871, from Ger. bilirubin (1864), from bili- (see bile) + L. ruber "red" (see red).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

bilirubin bil·i·ru·bin (bĭl'ĭ-rōō'bĭn, bĭl'ĭ-rōō'-)
A red bile pigment derived from the degradation of hemoglobin during the normal and abnormal destruction of red blood cells.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
bilirubin   (bĭl'ĭ-r'bĭn)  Pronunciation Key 
A reddish-yellow pigment that is a constituent of bile and gives it its color. Bilirubin is a porphyrin derived from the degradation of heme. It is often a constituent of gallstones, and also causes the skin discoloration seen in jaundice. Chemical formula: C33H36N4O6.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


a brownish yellow pigment of bile, secreted by the liver in vertebrates, which gives to solid waste products (feces) their characteristic colour. It is produced in bone marrow cells and in the liver as the end product of red-blood-cell (hemoglobin) breakdown. The amount of bilirubin manufactured relates directly to the quantity of blood cells destroyed. About 0.5 to 2 grams are produced daily. It has no known function and can be toxic to the fetal brain.

Learn more about bilirubin with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Blue light is particularly good at helping the body break down bilirubin, which
  causes the condition.
Bilirubin is a yellowish pigment found in bile, a fluid made by the liver.
Bilirubin is a yellowish pigment found in bile, a fluid produced by the liver.
Bilirubin is a yellow pigment that is created as the body gets rid of old red
  blood cells.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature