Meaning of bilirubin in English:


Pronunciation /ˌbɪlɪˈruːbɪn/


mass nounBiochemistry
  • An orange-yellow pigment formed in the liver by the breakdown of haemoglobin and excreted in bile.

    ‘Normally, the liver processes this bilirubin and excretes it into the bowel through the bile duct.’
    • ‘The liver plays an essential role in the metabolism of bilirubin and the excretion of its metabolites into the bile.’
    • ‘A healthy liver filters bilirubin, a breakdown product of old red blood cells.’
    • ‘It means the liver cannot break down bilirubin, which can leave the sufferer jaundiced and lead to brain damage.’
    • ‘Bilirubin accumulates in the body when the excretion of bilirubin in the bile cannot keep up with production.’


Late 19th century coined in German from Latin bilis ‘bile’ + ruber ‘red’ + -in.