1878 in the physiology sense of "the sum of the chemical changes within the body by which the protoplasm is renewed, changed, or prepared for excretion," from French métabolisme, from Greek metabole "a change," from metaballein "to change," from meta "change" (see meta-) + ballein "to throw" (from PIE root *gwele- "to throw, reach"). The word also has been used in theology, poetics, and entomology.
also, through 18c., errour; c. 1300, "a deviation from truth made through ignorance or inadvertence, a mistake," also "offense against morality or justice; transgression, wrong-doing, sin;" from Old French error "mistake, flaw, defect, heresy," from Latin errorem (nominative error) "a wandering, straying, a going astray; meandering; doubt, uncertainty;" also "a figurative going astray, mistake," from errare "to wander; to err" (see err). From early 14c. as "state of believing or practicing what is false or heretical; false opinion or belief, heresy." From late 14c. as "deviation from what is normal; abnormality, aberration." From 1726 as "difference between observed value and true value."
Words for "error" in most Indo-European languages originally meant "wander, go astray" (for example Greek plane in the New Testament, Old Norse villa, Lithuanian klaida, Sanskrit bhrama-), but Irish has dearmad "error," from dermat "a forgetting."
1887 (transitive) "to subject to metabolism, transform by assimilation or decomposition;" 1934 (intransitive) "to perform metabolism;" from Greek metabole "a change" (see metabolism) + -ize. Related: Metabolized; metabolizing.
1876, katabolism, "destructive metabolism," from Greek katabole "a throwing down" (also "a foundation"), from kataballein "to throw down," from kata "down" (see cata-) + ballein "to throw" (from PIE root *gwele- "to throw, reach"). Barnhart says probably formed in English on the model of metabolism. Spelling Latinized from 1889.
1845 in the biological sense "exhibiting or affected by metabolism," from German metabolisch (1839), from Greek metabolikos "changeable," from metabole "a change, changing, a transition" (see metabolism). Related: Metabolically.
"rhetorical figure in which the same words are repeated in reverse order," 1590s, from Greek antimetabolē, from anti "opposite" (see anti-) + metabolē "turning about" (see metabolism).