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melanin

[mel-uh-nin] /ˈmɛl ə nɪn/
noun
1.
any of a class of insoluble pigments, found in all forms of animal life, that account for the dark color of skin, hair, fur, scales, feathers, etc.
Origin
1835-1845
1835-45; melan- + -in2
Related forms
melaninlike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for melanin
  • Brown eyes are rich in melanin deposits, and blue eyes indicate a lack of melanin.
  • Two types of melanin pigments, one light and one dark, control hair's basic shades.
  • Plastic surgeons and dermatologists say the fillers help cover up melanin or the blood vessels that peek through thin skin.
  • Genetic mutations that affect the production of a pigment called melanin.
  • The three large, dark-brown cells contain high levels of the pigment melanin.
  • Dark-skinned people produce more numerous and deeper-colored melanin particles.
  • Paleness is related to blood flow in the skin rather than deposit of melanin in the skin.
  • If anybody without enough melanin says it, it's a horrible thing.
  • People with brown skin have more melanin than people with white skin.
  • The compound reduces melanin but in high doses can leave permanent dark spots.
British Dictionary definitions for melanin

melanin

/ˈmɛlənɪn/
noun
1.
any of a group of black or dark brown pigments present in the hair, skin, and eyes of man and animals: produced in excess in certain skin diseases and in melanomas
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 melanin
n.

dark brown or black pigment found in animal bodies, 1832, Modern Latin, with chemical suffix -in (2); first element from Greek melas (genitive melanos) "black," from PIE root *mel- "dark, soiled, dirty" (cf. Sanskrit malinah "dirty, stained, black," Lithuanian melynas "blue," Latin mulleus "reddish"). Related: Melanism; melanistic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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melanin in Medicine

melanin mel·a·nin (měl'ə-nĭn)
n.
Any of a group of naturally occurring dark pigments composed of granules of highly irregular polymers that usually contain nitrogen or sulfur atoms, especially the pigment found in skin, hair, fur, and feathers.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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melanin in Science
melanin
  (měl'ə-nĭn)   
Any of various pigments that are responsible for the dark color of the skin, hair, scales, feathers, and eyes of animals and are also found in plants, fungi, and bacteria. Melanins are polymers, often bound to proteins, and in the animal kingdom are built from compounds produced by the oxidation of the amino acid tyrosine.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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melanin in Culture
melanin [(mel-uh-nin)]

A dark brown coloring found in the body, especially in the skin and hair. Produced by special skin cells that are sensitive to sunlight, melanin protects the body by absorbing ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

Note: The amount of melanin present in the skin determines the color of a person's complexion: people with a large amount have dark skin, whereas those with very little have fair skin. Melanin is also responsible for tanning.
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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