Dictionary.com

alcohol

[ al-kuh-hawl, -hol ]
/ ˈæl kəˌhɔl, -ˌhɒl /
Save This Word!

noun
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.
whiskey, gin, vodka, or any other intoxicating liquor containing this liquid.
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.

COMPARE MEANINGS

Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.

VIDEO FOR ALCOHOL

These Words Are Guaranteed To Ruin An Apology

For all those apology-givers out there, listen up! These words will cancel out any apology you're trying to give.

MORE VIDEOS FROM DICTIONARY.COM
QUIZ
WILL YOU SAIL OR STUMBLE ON THESE GRAMMAR QUESTIONS?
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

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. 2023

How to use alcohol in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for alcohol

alcohol
/ (ˈælkəˌhɒl) /

noun
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
a drink or drinks containing this substance
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

Scientific definitions for alcohol

alcohol
[ ălkə-hôl′ ]

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