1920, originally vitamine (1912), from Latin vīta (“life”) (see vital) + amine (see amino acids). Vitamine coined by Polish biochemist Casimir Funk after the initial discovery of aberic acid (thiamine), when it was thought that all such nutrients would be amines. The term had become ubiquitous by the time it was discovered that vitamin C, among others, had no amine component. In 1920, British biochemist Jack Drummond proposed that the final -e be dropped to deemphasize the amine reference. The ending -in was acceptable because it was used for neutral substances of undefined composition. Drummond introduced the lettering system of nomenclature (Vitamin A, B, C, etc.) also at this same time.
vitamin (plural vitamins)
- Any of a specific group of organic compounds essential in small quantities for healthy human growth, metabolism, development, and body function; found in minute amounts in plant and animal foods or sometimes produced synthetically; deficiencies of specific vitamins produce specific disorders.
- See also Wikisaurus:vitamin
- A-vitamin, B-vitamin, C-vitamin, D-vitamin, E-vitamin, K-vitamin