butyric acid

noun Chemistry.

either of two isomeric acids having the formula C4H8O2, especially a rancid liquid occurring chiefly in spoiled butter, whose esters are used as flavorings.



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Also called butanoic acid.

Origin of butyric acid

First recorded in 1820–30
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for butyric acid

butyric acid
/ (bjuːˈtɪrɪk) /


a carboxylic acid existing in two isomeric forms, one of which produces the smell in rancid butter. Its esters are used in flavouring. Formula: C 3 (CH 2) 2 COOH

Word Origin for butyric acid

C19 butyric, from Latin būtyrum butter
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

Medical definitions for butyric acid

butyric acid
[ byōō-tîrĭk ]


Either of two colorless isomeric acids occurring in animal milk fats and used in disinfectants, emulsifying agents, and pharmaceuticals.butanoic acid
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for butyric acid

butyric acid
[ byōō-tîrĭk ]

Either of two colorless fatty acids found in butter and certain plant oils. It has an unpleasant odor and is used in emulsifying agents, disinfectants and drugs. Chemical formula: C4H8O2.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.