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[glis-uh-rawl, -rol] /ˈglɪs əˌrɔl, -ˌrɒl/
a colorless, odorless, syrupy, sweet liquid, C 3 H 8 O 3 , usually obtained by the saponification of natural fats and oils: used for sweetening and preserving food, in the manufacture of cosmetics, perfumes, inks, and certain glues and cements, as a solvent and automobile antifreeze, and in medicine in suppositories and skin emollients.
Also called glycerin, glycerine.
Origin of glycerol
First recorded in 1880-85; glycer(in) + -ol1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for glycerol
Historical Examples
  • In some cases the fatty acids are combined with other bases than glycerol.

  • No glycollic acid, oxalic acid, glycol, or glycerol was produced.

    Alcoholic Fermentation Arthur Harden
  • Determine the acetin value of the residue at in terms of glycerol.

    Soap-Making Manual E. G. Thomssen
  • Caustic soda cannot be substituted for caustic potash in the glycerol method.

    Soap-Making Manual E. G. Thomssen
  • After correcting for the blank, calculate the result to glycerol.

    Soap-Making Manual E. G. Thomssen
  • The materials vary in glycerol content with the methods of preparation; especially is this the case with tallows and greases.

  • Maximal survival at -79° C. was obtained at the 7-percent glycerol level.

  • From the amount of bichromate reduced calculate the percentage of glycerol.

    Soap-Making Manual E. G. Thomssen
  • Of the three chief by-products of alcoholic fermentation, only glycerol remains at present referable directly to the sugar.

    Alcoholic Fermentation Arthur Harden
  • The function of the glycerol is not understood but is probably that of lessening the rate of destruction of the yeast enzymes.

    Alcoholic Fermentation Arthur Harden
British Dictionary definitions for glycerol


a colourless or pale yellow odourless sweet-tasting syrupy liquid; 1,2,3-propanetriol: a by-product of soap manufacture, used as a solvent, antifreeze, plasticizer, and sweetener (E422). Formula: C3H8O3 Also called (not in technical usage) glycerine, glycerin
Word Origin
C19: from glycer(ine) + -ol1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for glycerol

1884, from glycerine + -ol, suffix denoting alcohols.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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glycerol in Medicine

glycerol glyc·er·ol (glĭs'ə-rôl', -rōl')
A sweet syrupy fluid obtained by the saponification of fats and fixed oils, used as a solvent, a skin emollient, and as a vehicle and sweetening agent; it is also used by injection or in suppository form for constipation and orally to reduce ocular tension.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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glycerol in Science
A sweet, syrupy liquid obtained from animal fats and oils or by the fermentation of glucose. It is used as a solvent, sweetener, and antifreeze and in making explosives and soaps. Glycerol consists of a propane molecule attached to three hydroxyl (OH) groups. Also called glycerin, glycerine. Chemical formula: C3H8O3.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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