Acetylate – Definition & Meaning

Acetylate is a term that is often used in chemistry and biochemistry. It refers to the process of adding an acetyl group to a molecule, which can change its properties and functions. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of acetylate, its origins, associations, synonyms, antonyms, and example sentences.


Acetylate is a verb that means to introduce an acetyl group into a molecule. An acetyl group is a functional group consisting of a methyl group and a carbonyl group. This process can occur naturally or can be done synthetically in a laboratory setting.


The word acetylate comes from the term acetyl, which is derived from the Latin word acetum, meaning vinegar. The suffix -ate is added to indicate a chemical process or reaction. The term was first used in the early 20th century to describe the process of adding an acetyl group to a molecule.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, acetylate means “to introduce an acetyl group into (a compound).” The Oxford English Dictionary defines acetylate as “to combine or react with acetic acid or its derivatives, especially to introduce an acetyl group into a molecule.”


Acetylation is a common chemical modification that occurs in many biological processes. It can affect the function and activity of proteins, enzymes, and other molecules. Acetylation has been linked to various diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.


Some synonyms of acetylate include:

  • Acetyloylation.
  • Acylation.
  • Acylate.


There are no direct antonyms for acetylate, as it is a specific chemical process. However, some opposite concepts could include:

  • Deacetylation.
  • Decarboxylation.
  • Deprotonation.

The same root words

Some words that share the same root as acetylate include:

  • Acetic acid.
  • Acetone.
  • Acetate.

Example Sentences

Here are some example sentences that use the word acetylate:

  • The researchers were able to acetylate the protein, which changed its function.
  • Acetylation of histones can affect gene expression and chromatin structure.
  • The chemist synthesized a novel compound by acetylating a specific molecule.
  • Acetylation is an important post-translational modification that occurs in many proteins.
  • The enzyme was found to acetylate a specific amino acid residue, which altered its activity.
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