Definition of indican in English:


Pronunciation /ˈindəˌkan/ /ˈɪndəˌkæn/


  • A potassium salt present in urine, in which it occurs as a product of the metabolism of indole.

    Alternative name: potassium indoxylsulphate; chemical formula C₈H₆NOSO₂OH

    ‘We have studied the effect of indican on six commercial procedures for the measurement of total bilirubin in serum.’
    • ‘It has been suggested that up to a half of elderly hospitalized patients excrete an abnormally high concentration of indican compared with young individuals.’


Mid 19th century from Latin indicum ‘indigo’(because of its early use denoting an indoxyl glucoside occurring in the leaves of indigo plants) + -an.