[ dih-jes-chuh n, dahy- ]
/ dɪˈdʒɛs tʃən, daɪ- /


the process in the alimentary canal by which food is broken up physically, as by the action of the teeth, and chemically, as by the action of enzymes, and converted into a substance suitable for absorption and assimilation into the body.
the function or power of digesting food: My digestion is bad.
the act of digesting or the state of being digested.

Origin of digestion

1350–1400; Middle English digestioun < Anglo-French, Middle French < Latin dīgestiōn- (stem of dīgestiō), equivalent to dīgest(us) (see digest) + -iōn- -ion


di·ges·tion·al, adjective non·di·ges·tion, noun re·di·ges·tion, noun self-di·ges·tion, noun

Example sentences from the Web for digestion

British Dictionary definitions for digestion

/ (dɪˈdʒɛstʃən, daɪ-) /


the act or process in living organisms of breaking down ingested food material into easily absorbed and assimilated substances by the action of enzymes and other agents Related adjective: peptic
mental assimilation, esp of ideas
bacteriol the decomposition of sewage by the action of bacteria
chem the treatment of material with heat, solvents, chemicals, etc, to cause softening or decomposition

Derived forms of digestion

digestional, adjective

Word Origin for digestion

C14: from Old French, from Latin digestiō a dissolving, digestion

Medical definitions for digestion

[ dī-jĕschən, dĭ- ]


The process by which food is converted into substances that can be absorbed and assimilated by the body, especially that accomplished in the alimentary canal by the mechanical and enzymatic breakdown of foods into simpler chemical compounds.

Scientific definitions for digestion

[ dī-jĕschən ]

The process by which food is broken down into simple chemical compounds that can be absorbed and used as nutrients or eliminated by the body. In most animals, nutrients are obtained from food by the action of digestive enzymes. In humans and other higher vertebrates, digestion takes place mainly in the small intestine. In protists and some invertebrates, digestion occurs by phagocytosis.
The decomposition of organic material, such as sewage, by bacteria.

Cultural definitions for digestion


The breaking down of food, which is made up of complex organic molecules (see also organic molecule), into smaller molecules that the body can absorb and use for maintenance and growth.