Also called ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, ethanol, fermentation alcohol. a colorless, limpid, volatile, flammable, water-miscible liquid, C 2 H 5 OH, having an etherlike odor and pungent, burning taste, the intoxicating principle of fermented liquors, produced by yeast fermentation of certain carbohydrates, as grains, molasses, starch, or sugar, or obtained synthetically by hydration of ethylene or as a by-product of certain hydrocarbon syntheses: used chiefly as a solvent in the extraction of specific substances, in beverages, medicines, organic synthesis, lotions, tonics, colognes, rubbing compounds, as an automobile radiator antifreeze, and as a rocket fuel.
Compare , .
whiskey, gin, vodka, or any other intoxicating liquor containing this liquid.
Chemistry. any of a class of chemical compounds having the general formula ROH, where R represents an alkyl group and –OH a hydroxyl group, as in , CH 3 OH, or , C 2 H 5 OH.
Contemporary Examples

Ismail Adin, another shop owner in Beyoglu, also said sales of alcohol were down, from about 5,000 Lira a day to 2,000 Lira.
With New Turkish Liquor Ban, Raki Goes Underground Thomas Seibert June 12, 2014

“I had just wiped the buttons down with some alcohol swipes,” the employee said.
Dallas: A Journal of the Plague City Pete Freedman October 16, 2014

Still, San Gabriel authorities have said there is no indication any drugs or alcohol were involved.
Commerce Secretary on Leave After Mystery Crash Aram Roston, Christine Pelisek June 11, 2012

A happy campus is a more productive learning environment; and one that has a lower incidence of alcohol and drug abuse.
How to Reinvent College Rankings: Show the Data Students Need Most Steve Cohen March 23, 2013

Discard your alcohol and dispose of your pork “The Muslims Are Coming!”
Why the Right Is Bashing My Muslim Comedy Movie Dean Obeidallah September 21, 2013

Historical Examples

Such men, too, it may be added, are much more liable to the attacks of disease than those who totally abstain from alcohol.
Select Temperance Tracts American Tract Society

A moment after, the odor of alcohol scented the little cabin.
The Cruise of the Dry Dock T. S. Stribling

The equilibrium of the ship is denoted automatically by this alcohol cross combined with a double pendulum.
A. D. 2000 Alvarado M. Fuller

I am afflicted by none of the desultoriness superinduced by alcohol.
The Old Game Samuel G. Blythe

Colloidal platinum in water is negative, in a mixture of water and alcohol, positive.
The Elements of Qualitative Chemical Analysis, vol. 1, parts 1 and 2. Julius Stieglitz

Also called ethanol, ethyl alcohol. a colourless flammable liquid, the active principle of intoxicating drinks, produced by the fermentation of sugars, esp glucose, and used as a solvent and in the manufacture of organic chemicals. Formula: C2H5OH
a drink or drinks containing this substance
(chem) any one of a class of organic compounds that contain one or more hydroxyl groups bound to carbon atoms. The simplest alcohols have the formula ROH, where R is an alkyl group Compare phenol (sense 2) See also diol, triol

1540s (early 15c. as alcofol), “fine powder produced by sublimation,” from Medieval Latin alcohol “powdered ore of antimony,” from Arabic al-kuhul “kohl,” the fine metallic powder used to darken the eyelids, from kahala “to stain, paint.” The al- is the Arabic definite article, “the.”

“Powdered cosmetic” was the earliest sense in English; definition broadened 1670s to “any sublimated substance, the pure spirit of anything,” including liquids. Modern sense of “intoxicating ingredient in strong liquor” is first recorded 1753, short for alcohol of wine, which was extended to “the intoxicating element in fermented liquors.” In organic chemistry, the word was extended 1850 to the class of compounds of the same type as this.

alcohol al·co·hol (āl’kə-hôl’)

Any of a series of hydroxyl compounds derived from saturated hydrocarbons, including ethanol and methanol.

A colorless, volatile, flammable liquid synthesized or obtained by fermentation of sugars and starches and widely used, either pure or denatured, as a solvent and in drugs. Also called ethanol, ethyl alcohol.

Intoxicating liquor containing alcohol.


Any of a large number of colorless, flammable organic compounds that contain the hydroxyl group (OH) and that form esters with acids. Alcohols are used as solvents and for manufacturing dyes, perfumes, and pharmaceuticals. Simple alcohols, such as methanol and ethanol, are water-soluble liquids, while more complex ones, like cetyl alcohol, are waxy solids. Names of alcohols usually end in -ol.



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