Gelatin is an edible thickener that's made from finely ground animal bones and tissue. It's gelatin that gives marshmallows and Jell-o their thick, gummy texture.

While you're probably familiar with gelatin in gummy bears, candy corn, and other sweets, it's also commonly used in foods like cream cheese, low fat yogurt, and some Chinese dumplings. There are non-food uses for gelatin as well, including glue, medicine, sandpaper, and makeup. Gelatin isn't vegetarian — it's made from animal parts, including bones and connective tissue. Gelatin comes from the French gélatine, "jelly-like substance from animals," and its Latin root meaning "to congeal."

Definitions of gelatin
  1. noun
    a colorless water-soluble glutinous protein obtained from animal tissues such as bone and skin
    synonyms: gelatine
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    type of:
    albuminoid, scleroprotein
    a simple protein found in horny and cartilaginous tissues and in the lens of the eye
  2. noun
    an edible jelly (sweet or pungent) made with gelatin and used as a dessert or salad base or a coating for foods
    synonyms: jelly
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    calf's-foot jelly
    a savory jelly made with gelatin obtained by boiling calves' feet
    gelatin dessert
    jellied dessert made with gelatin and fruit juice or water
    savory jelly based on fish or meat stock used as a mold for meats or vegetables
    Jell-O, jello
    fruit-flavored dessert (trade mark Jell-O) made from a commercially prepared gelatin powder
    type of:
    dainty, delicacy, goody, kickshaw, treat
    something considered choice to eat
  3. noun
    a thin translucent membrane used over stage lights for color effects
    synonyms: gel
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    type of:
    a thin pliable sheet of material
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