Dictionary > Vitamin


noun, plural: vitamins
A low molecular weight organic compound that is essential for normal growth and metabolic processes and is required in trace amounts
A vitamin is an organic compound that is essential for the normal growth and metabolic processes of an organism. The organism is not capable of synthesizing an adequate amount of such chemical compound and therefore must obtain it in its diet. Another important feature of an organic compound to be considered as a vitamin is to be required in only limited but adequate amount. The term vitamin was first used by Polish biochemist Kazimierz Funk. It came from vitamine, which in turn was derived from Latin vita, meaning life, and amine after the initial discovery of thiamine (formerly aberic acid) when it was thought that all vitamins are amines.1, 2
There are various types of vitamins. In humans, there are 13 vitamins essential for growth and metabolism. Four of them are fat-soluble, meaning they are soluble in fat or nonpolar solvents. The other nine vitamins are water-soluble since they readily dissolve in water.
Related term(s):

  • Fortified vitamin d milk
  • Vitamin d deficiency
  • Vitamin c deficiency
  • Bacterial Vitamin H1
  • Vitamin e deficiency
  • Vitamin b1
  • Vitamin k4
  • Vitamin k
  • Vitamin c
  • Vitamin a
  • Vitamin k2
  • Fertility vitamin
  • Vitamin d
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin G
  • Vitamin M
  • fat-soluble vitamin
  • water-soluble vitamin


1 Iłowiecki, Maciej (1981). Dzieje nauki polskiej. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Interpress. p. 177.

2 vitamin. Dictionary.com Unabridged, v1.0.1, Lexico Publishing Group, 2006. Retrieved from ://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=vitamin

You will also like...

Schematic diagram of bacterial lactose operon
Gene Action – Operon Hypothesis

Learn how the way genes control and determine every aspect of the body. This lesson uses lac operon as an example. ..


New Zealand - Biodiversity fauna
New Zealand’s Biodiversity

Find out more about New Zealand's unique biodiversity by exploring a range of different ecosystems and the key role of s..


The circulatory system is key to the transport of vital biomolecules and nutrients throughout the body. Learn about the ..

Sensory systems
Sensory Systems

A sensory system is a part of the nervous system consisting of sensory receptors that receive stimuli from the internal ..

New Zealand Flora & Fauna
Ecology & Biodiversity: New Zealand Flora & Fauna

New Zealand is known for its unique biodiversity, caused by its remarkable geography and geologic history. Breaking away..

Cell structure
Cell Structure

A typical eukaryotic cell is comprised of cytoplasm with different organelles, such as nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, G..