open chain

noun Chemistry.

a series of atoms linked in a chain not joined together at its ends, and so represented in its structural formula.
Compare closed chain.

Origin of open chain

First recorded in 1880–85

Related forms

o·pen-chain, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for open chain

  • Carbohydrates are classed as open-chain compounds, that is, they may be regarded as derivatives of the aliphatic hydrocarbons.

    The Chemistry of Plant Life|Roscoe Wilfred Thatcher
  • However, the ordinary aldehyde reactions of the sugars are more clearly indicated by the open-chain formula.

    The Chemistry of Plant Life|Roscoe Wilfred Thatcher

British Dictionary definitions for open chain

open chain


a chain of atoms in a molecule that is not joined at its ends into the form of a ring
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

Science definitions for open chain

open chain

An arrangement of atoms of the same type that does not form a ring. Aliphatic compounds, such as ethane and isopropyl alcohol, are open-chain compounds.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.