noun Chemistry.
  1. a colorless, volatile, water-soluble, flammable liquid, C3H6O, usually derived by oxidation of isopropyl alcohol or by bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates: used chiefly in paints and varnishes, as a general solvent, and in organic synthesis.

Origin of acetone

First recorded in 1830–40; acet- + -one
Also called dimethylketone.
Related formsac·e·ton·ic [as-i-ton-ik] /ˌæs ɪˈtɒn ɪk/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for acetone


  1. a colourless volatile flammable pungent liquid, miscible with water, used in the manufacture of chemicals and as a solvent and thinner for paints, varnishes, and lacquers. Formula: CH 3 COCH 3Systematic name: propanone
Derived Formsacetonic (ˌæsɪˈtɒnɪk), adjective

Word Origin for acetone

C19: from German Azeton, from aceto- + -one
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

Word Origin and History for acetone

colorless volatile liquid, 1839, literally "a derivative of acetic acid," from Latin acetum "vinegar" (see acetic) + Greek-based chemical suffix -one, which owes its use in chemistry to this word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

acetone in Medicine


  1. A colorless, volatile, extremely flammable liquid ketone widely used as an organic solvent.
  2. An organic compound produced in excessive amounts in diabetic acidosis.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

acetone in Science


  1. A colorless, volatile, extremely flammable liquid ketone that is widely used as a solvent, for example in nail-polish remover. Chemical formula: C3H6O.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.