Adenosine triphosphate – Definition & Meaning

Adenosine triphosphate, commonly known as ATP, is a molecule that is essential for the proper functioning of all living organisms. This molecule plays a crucial role in energy transfer within cells and is often referred to as the “energy currency” of the cell. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of adenosine triphosphate in detail.


Adenosine triphosphate is a nucleotide that consists of an adenosine molecule, a sugar molecule, and three phosphate groups. The molecule’s chemical formula is C10H16N5O13P3. ATP is a high-energy molecule, and the energy stored in its phosphate bonds is used to power various cellular processes.


Adenosine triphosphate was first discovered by Karl Lohmann in 1929. He isolated the molecule from muscle tissue and named it “adenosine triphosphoric acid.” Later, the name was shortened to adenosine triphosphate.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, adenosine triphosphate is defined as “a nucleotide C10H16N5O13P3 that is the primary source of energy for cellular reactions and the synthesis of nucleic acids.”
The Oxford English Dictionary defines ATP as “a high-energy molecule found in all living cells that is used to fuel metabolic processes.”


ATP is closely associated with cellular respiration, the process by which cells convert glucose into energy. It is also involved in muscle contraction, DNA synthesis, and various other cellular processes.


Some synonyms of adenosine triphosphate include:

  • Triphosphoric acid.
  • Adenosine 5′-triphosphate.


As ATP is a molecule that is essential for the proper functioning of all living organisms, there are no antonyms for adenosine triphosphate.

The same root words

Adenosine triphosphate is derived from three root words: adenosine, triphosphate, and nucleotide.
Adenosine is a nucleoside that consists of a purine base (adenine) and a ribose sugar molecule. Triphosphate refers to the three phosphate groups that are attached to the adenosine molecule. A nucleotide is a building block of DNA and RNA and consists of a nitrogenous base, a sugar molecule, and a phosphate group.

Example Sentences

  1. The energy stored in adenosine triphosphate is used to power various cellular processes.
  2. ATP is often referred to as the “energy currency” of the cell.
  3. Adenosine triphosphate is essential for muscle contraction.
  4. Cellular respiration involves the conversion of glucose into adenosine triphosphate.
  5. The synthesis of nucleic acids requires adenosine triphosphate.
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