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noun, plural: lipids

A fatty or waxy organic compound that is readily soluble in nonpolar solvent (e.g. ether) but not in polar solvent (e.g water). Its major biological functions involve energy storage, structural component of cell membrane, and cell signaling.


Examples of lipids are waxes, oils, sterols, cholesterol, fat-soluble vitamins, monoglycerides, diglycerides, triglycerides (fats), and phospholipids.

Fatty acids (including fats) are a subgroup of lipids, hence, it will be inaccurate to consider the terms synonymous.

Word origin: French lipide » Greek lipos, fat.

Related forms: lipidic (adjective).
Related terms: glycolipids, lipid a, lipid bilayer, lipid granulomatosis, lipid peroxidation, lipid pneumonia, lipid profile, phospholipids, sphingolipids

Compare: fatty acid.