- a combustible mixture of gaseous hydrocarbons that accumulates in porous sedimentary rocks, especially those yielding petroleum, consisting usually of over 80 percent methane together with minor amounts of ethane, propane, butane, nitrogen, and, sometimes, helium: used as a fuel and to make carbon black, acetylene, and synthesis gas.
Origin of natural gas
First recorded in 1815–25
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for natural gas
She is groundbreaking on the problem of methane leaks in natural-gas fracking, an exception that swallows the rule.Naomi Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything’ Will Change Nothing
November 17, 2014
If coal jobs are destroyed in the near future, it will more likely be the fault of natural-gas companies than EPA regulations.Obama Administration Issues New Rules Capping Carbon Emissions From New Coal Plants
September 20, 2013
A natural-gas well exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, and 44 workers were evacuated.Mark Ruffalo on the Gulf Gas-Well Blowout and Why We Need to Kick Fossil Fuels to the Curb
July 29, 2013
In 2011 the two largest capital investments in North America (PDF)—both tied to natural-gas production—were in Louisiana.As the North Rests on Its Laurels, the South Is Rising Fast
June 17, 2013
There were fires from natural-gas explosions and houses swept off their foundations.Why the Hell Do Storm Chasers Rush In?
May 21, 2013
There are two varieties of college students—the midnight-oil and the natural-gas kind; and Petey was a whole gas well in himself.At Good Old Siwash
Natural-gas fuel is conveyed into her mills and houses through one thousand miles of iron pipe.A Short History of Pittsburgh
Samuel Harden Church
In natural-gas regions, the supply of additional heat in a flue from a furnace or by a jet would be a small matter.
Below is given a form of specification in use by an architect in a natural-gas region.
"Like your natural-gas man, Mr. Beaton," said the girl, with a smiling glance round at him.The March Family Trilogy, Complete
William Dean Howells
- a gaseous mixture consisting mainly of methane trapped below ground; used extensively as a fuel
- A mixture of hydrocarbon gases that occurs naturally beneath the Earth's surface, often with or near petroleum deposits. Natural gas contains mostly of methane but also has varying amounts of ethane, propane, butane, and nitrogen. It is used as a fuel and in making organic compounds.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.