[ uh-set-l-een, -in ]

  1. a colorless gas, C2H2, having an etherlike odor, produced usually by the action of water on calcium carbide or by pyrolysis of natural gas: used especially in metal cutting and welding, as an illuminant, and in organic synthesis.

Origin of acetylene

First recorded in 1860–65; acetyl + -ene

Other words from acetylene

  • a·cet·y·len·ic [uh-set-l-en-ik], /əˌsɛt lˈɛn ɪk/, adjective

Words Nearby acetylene Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use acetylene in a sentence

  • acetylene gas is now used in a safe apparatus, and it also is an excellent light.

  • We re-charged the acetylene lamps, for we intended to sit up late.

    Castellinaria | Henry Festing Jones
  • An engineer regiment was fighting the water in the Place de la Concorde by the light of acetylene lamps.

    Paris Vistas | Helen Davenport Gibbons
  • Such a solution is an absorbent of carbon monoxide; it also absorbs ethylene and acetylene.

    Poisons: Their Effects and Detection | Alexander Wynter Blyth
  • Jones had been charging the acetylene generators and by some means one of them caught fire.

    The Home of the Blizzard | Douglas Mawson

British Dictionary definitions for acetylene


/ (əˈsɛtɪˌliːn) /

  1. a colourless flammable gas used in the manufacture of organic chemicals and in cutting and welding metals. Formula: C 2 H 2: Systematic name: ethyne

    • another name for alkyne

    • (as modifier): acetylene series

Derived forms of acetylene

  • acetylenic (əˌsɛtɪˈlɛnɪk), adjective

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

Scientific definitions for acetylene


[ ə-sĕtl-ēn′, -ən ]

  1. A colorless, highly flammable or explosive gas with a characteristic sweet odor. It is used in welding torches and in the manufacture of organic chemicals such as vinyl chloride. Acetylene is the simplest alkyne, consisting of two carbon atoms joined by a triple bond and each attached to a single hydrogen atom. Also called ethyne. Chemical formula: C2H2.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.