1. Any of various fat-soluble or water-soluble organic substances that are essential in minute amounts for normal growth and activity of living organisms. They are synthesized by bacteria and plants and are obtained by animals chiefly in their diet.
2. A preparation containing one or more vitamins, often taken as a dietary supplement.
[Alteration of vitamine : Latin vīta, life; see gwei- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + AMINE (so called because they were originally thought to be amines).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.