containing the ethylene group.


Also called ethene, olefiant gas. a colorless, flammable gas, C2H4, having a sweet, unpleasant odor and taste, the first member of the ethylene series, usually obtained from petroleum and natural gas: used as an agent to improve the color of citrus fruits, in the synthesis of polyethylene, ethylene dibromide, ethylene oxide, and other organic compounds, and in medicine chiefly as an inhalation anesthetic.

Origin of ethylene

First recorded in 1850–55; ethyl + -ene
Related formseth·yl·e·nic [eth-uh-lee-nik, -len-ik] /ˌɛθ əˈli nɪk, -ˈlɛn ɪk/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ethylene

Contemporary Examples of ethylene

  • “There are similarities between propylene glycol and ethylene glycol, the anti-freeze used in automobiles,” Dale said.

    The Daily Beast logo
    My (Electronic) Cigarette Addiction

    Eli Lake

    January 31, 2013

Historical Examples of ethylene

British Dictionary definitions for ethylene



a colourless flammable gaseous alkene with a sweet odour, obtained from petroleum and natural gas and used in the manufacture of polythene and many other chemicals. Formula: CH 2 :CH 2Also called: ethene
Derived Formsethylenic (ˌɛθɪˈliːnɪk), 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

Word Origin and History for ethylene

1852, from ethyl + -ene, probably suggested by methylene.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ethylene in Medicine




An explosive gas derived from natural gas and petroleum infrequently used as an inhalation anesthetic.ethene
The bivalent hydrocarbon radical C2H4 that is isomeric to the ethylidene radical.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

ethylene in Science



A colorless, flammable gas that occurs naturally in certain plants and can be obtained from petroleum and natural gas. As a plant hormone, it ripens and colors fruit, and it is manufactured for use in agriculture to speed these processes. It is also used as a fuel and in making plastics. Ethylene is the simplest alkene, consisting of two carbon atoms joined by a double bond and each attached to two hydrogen atoms. Also called ethene. Chemical formula: C2H4.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.