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vitamin

[vahy-tuh-min; British also vit-uh-min] /ˈvaɪ tə mɪn; British also ˈvɪt ə mɪn/
noun
1.
any of a group of organic substances essential in small quantities to normal metabolism, found in minute amounts in natural foodstuffs or sometimes produced synthetically: deficiencies of vitamins produce specific disorders.
Also, vitamine
[vahy-tuh-min, -meen; British also vit-uh-min, -meen] /ˈvaɪ tə mɪn, -ˌmin; British also ˈvɪt ə mɪn, -ˌmin/ (Show IPA)
.
Origin
1912
1912; earlier vitamine < Latin vīt(a) life + amine; coined by C. Funk, who thought they were amines
Related forms
vitaminic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for vitamin
  • But research is showing that taking synthetic vitamin supplements is actually harmful.
  • He also showed me a vitamin mixture he puts in water for the chickens.
  • Factory's vitamin and cosmetic factory has educational displays and complimentary samples.
  • It is added to other foods because it was once thought to be the active vitamin.
  • The acquisitions had run up large debts and discounters had flooded the vitamin market.
  • People don't eat the nutritious foods they are offered, or take their vitamin supplements.
  • You'll find it in toothpaste and in vitamin supplements.
  • It climbed down the crate its pot stood on and ate the label off a vitamin bottle.
  • Perhaps it is safe to take vitamin pills once in a while, during pregnancies, or when in ill health is fine.
  • Farming brought a population explosion, protein and vitamin deficiency, new diseases and deforestation.
British Dictionary definitions for vitamin

vitamin

/ˈvɪtəmɪn; ˈvaɪ-/
noun
1.
any of a group of substances that are essential, in small quantities, for the normal functioning of metabolism in the body. They cannot usually be synthesized in the body but they occur naturally in certain foods: insufficient supply of any particular vitamin results in a deficiency disease
Derived Forms
vitaminic, adjective
Word Origin
C20: vit- from Latin vīta life + -amin from amine; so named by Casimir Funk, who believed the substances to be amines
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 vitamin
n.

1920, originally vitamine (1912) coined by Polish biochemist Casimir Funk (1884-1967), from Latin vita "life" (see vital) + amine, because they were thought to contain amino acids. The terminal -e formally was stripped off when scientists learned the true nature of the substance; -in was acceptable because it was used for neutral substances of undefined composition. The lettering system of nomenclature (Vitamin A, B, C, etc.) was introduced at the same time (1920).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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vitamin in Medicine

vitamin vi·ta·min (vī'tə-mĭn)
n.
Any of various fat-soluble or water-soluble organic substances essential in minute amounts for normal growth and activity of the body and obtained naturally from plant and animal foods.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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vitamin in Science
vitamin
  (vī'tə-mĭn)   
Any of various organic compounds that are needed in small amounts for normal growth and activity of the body. Most vitamins cannot be synthesized by the body, but are found naturally in foods obtained from plants and animals. Vitamins are either water-soluble or fat-soluble. Most water-soluble vitamins, such as the vitamin B complex, act as catalysts and coenzymes in metabolic processes and energy transfer and are excreted fairly rapidly. Fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, and E are necessary for the function or structural integrity of specific body tissues and membranes and are retained in the body.

Our Living Language  : Although it has been known for thousands of years that certain diseases can be treated with specific foods, the scientific link between vitamins and good health wasn't made until the early 1900s by Polish-born American biochemist Casimir Funk. While studying beriberi, a disease that causes depression, fatigue, and nerve damage, Funk discovered an organic compound in rice husks that prevents the illness. He named the compound vitamine, derived from the chemical name amine and the Latin word vita, "life," because vitamins are required for life and were originally thought to be amines. Funk's compound is now known as vitamin B1, or thiamine. His research and discovery led him, along with English biochemist Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, to propose the vitamin hypothesis of deficiency, which stated that certain diseases, such as scurvy or rickets, are caused by dietary deficiencies and can be avoided by taking vitamins. Further research allowed scientists to isolate and identify the vitamins that we know today to be essential for human health. Vitamins include A, C, D, E, K, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, B12, folic acid, biotin, and pantothenic acid. Vitamins are distinguished from minerals, such as calcium, iron, and magnesium, which are also essential for optimum health.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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