Science, Tech, Math › Science Macromolecule Definition and Examples What Exactly Is a Macromolecule? Share Flipboard Email Print LAGUNA DESIGN / Getty Images Science Chemistry Chemical Laws Basics Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated April 08, 2018 In chemistry and biology, a macromolecule is defined as a molecule with a very large number of atoms. Macromolecules typically have more than 100 component atoms. Macromolecules exhibit very different properties from smaller molecules, including their subunits, when applicable. In contrast, a micromolecule is a molecule which has a small size and molecular weight. The term macromolecule was coined by Nobel laureate Hermann Staudinger in the 1920s. At the time, the term "polymer" had a different meaning than it does today, or else it might have become the preferred word. Macromolecule Examples Most polymers are macromolecules and many biochemical molecules are macromolecules. Polymers consist of subunits, called mers, that are covalently linked to form larger structures. Proteins, DNA, RNA, and plastics are all macromolecules. Many carbohydrates and lipids are macromolecules. Carbon nanotubes are an example of a macromolecule that is not a biological material.