[ streyt-cheyn ]
/ ˈstreɪtˈtʃeɪn /

noun Chemistry.

an open chain of atoms, usually carbon, with no side chains attached to it.

Origin of straight-chain

First recorded in 1925–30
Also called straight chain. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for straight chain

straight chain


  1. an open chain of atoms in a molecule with no attached side chains
  2. (as modifier)a straight-chain hydrocarbon
Compare branched chain
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

Scientific definitions for straight chain

straight chain

An arrangement of atoms of the same type that forms an unbranched open chain. Propane is a straight-chain compound with a chain of three carbon atoms.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.