• synonyms


noun Chemistry.
  1. a colorless, odorless, flammable gas, C2H6, of the methane series, present in natural gas, illuminating gas, and crude petroleum: used chiefly in organic synthesis and as a fuel gas.
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Origin of ethane

First recorded in 1870–75; eth(yl) + -ane
Also called dimethyl.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ethane

Historical Examples

  • All we need trouble about, however, is the first two, Methane and Ethane.

    The Romance of War Inventions

    Thomas W. Corbin

  • We have pictured to ourselves the molecule of methane: let us do the same with ethane.

  • Ethane, (C2H6), a hydrocarbon belonging to the paraffin series.

  • Acetylene combines with hydrogen in the presence of platinum black, and ethylene and then ethane result.

  • Add another of carbon and two more of hydrogen and you get the second "Ethane."

British Dictionary definitions for ethane


  1. a colourless odourless flammable gaseous alkane obtained from natural gas and petroleum: used as a fuel and in the manufacture of organic chemicals. Formula: C 2 H 6
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Word Origin

C19: from eth (yl) + -ane
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 ethane


1873, from ethyl + -ane, the appropriate suffix under Hofmann's system.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ethane in Science


  1. A colorless, odorless, flammable gas occurring in natural gas. It is used as a fuel and in refrigeration. Ethane is the second member of the alkane series. Chemical formula: C2H6.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.