alcohol

[al-kuh-hawl, -hol]
See more synonyms for alcohol on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. Also called ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, ethanol, fermentation alcohol. a colorless, limpid, volatile, flammable, water-miscible liquid, C2H5OH, having an etherlike odor and pungent, burning taste, the intoxicating principle of fermented liquors, produced by yeast fermentation of certain carbohydrates, as grains, molasses, starch, or sugar, or obtained synthetically by hydration of ethylene or as a by-product of certain hydrocarbon syntheses: used chiefly as a solvent in the extraction of specific substances, in beverages, medicines, organic synthesis, lotions, tonics, colognes, rubbing compounds, as an automobile radiator antifreeze, and as a rocket fuel.Compare denatured alcohol, methyl alcohol.
  2. whiskey, gin, vodka, or any other intoxicating liquor containing this liquid.
  3. Chemistry. any of a class of chemical compounds having the general formula ROH, where R represents an alkyl group and –OH a hydroxyl group, as in methyl alcohol, CH3OH, or ethyl alcohol, C2H5OH.

Origin of alcohol

1535–45; < New Latin < Medieval Latin < Arabic al-kuḥl the powdered antimony, the distillate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for alcohol

Contemporary Examples of alcohol

Historical Examples of alcohol

  • A moment after, the odor of alcohol scented the little cabin.

  • They had penetrated the mists of alcohol, and stirred a belated contrition.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • I am afflicted by none of the desultoriness superinduced by alcohol.

    The Old Game

    Samuel G. Blythe

  • Alcohol especially facilitates the degeneration of sexual life.

  • The action of alcohol on the feminine sexual appetite is very peculiar.


British Dictionary definitions for alcohol

alcohol

noun
  1. Also called: ethanol, ethyl alcohol a colourless flammable liquid, the active principle of intoxicating drinks, produced by the fermentation of sugars, esp glucose, and used as a solvent and in the manufacture of organic chemicals. Formula: C 2 H 5 OH
  2. a drink or drinks containing this substance
  3. chem any one of a class of organic compounds that contain one or more hydroxyl groups bound to carbon atoms. The simplest alcohols have the formula ROH, where R is an alkyl groupCompare phenol (def. 2) See also diol, triol

Word Origin for alcohol

C16: via New Latin from Medieval Latin, from Arabic al-kuhl powdered antimony; see kohl
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 alcohol
n.

1540s (early 15c. as alcofol), "fine powder produced by sublimation," from Medieval Latin alcohol "powdered ore of antimony," from Arabic al-kuhul "kohl," the fine metallic powder used to darken the eyelids, from kahala "to stain, paint." The al- is the Arabic definite article, "the."

"Powdered cosmetic" was the earliest sense in English; definition broadened 1670s to "any sublimated substance, the pure spirit of anything," including liquids. Modern sense of "intoxicating ingredient in strong liquor" is first recorded 1753, short for alcohol of wine, which was extended to "the intoxicating element in fermented liquors." In organic chemistry, the word was extended 1850 to the class of compounds of the same type as this.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

alcohol in Medicine

alcohol

[ălkə-hôl′]
n.
  1. Any of a series of hydroxyl compounds derived from saturated hydrocarbons, including ethanol and methanol.
  2. A colorless, volatile, flammable liquid synthesized or obtained by fermentation of sugars and starches and widely used, either pure or denatured, as a solvent and in drugs.ethanol ethyl alcohol
  3. Intoxicating liquor containing alcohol.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

alcohol in Science

alcohol

[ălkə-hôl′]
  1. Any of a large number of colorless, flammable organic compounds that contain the hydroxyl group (OH) and that form esters with acids. Alcohols are used as solvents and for manufacturing dyes, perfumes, and pharmaceuticals. Simple alcohols, such as methanol and ethanol, are water-soluble liquids, while more complex ones, like cetyl alcohol, are waxy solids. Names of alcohols usually end in -ol.
  2. Ethanol.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.