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Simplest carboxylic acid, chemical formula HCOOH. It is secreted by some insects, especially red ants (its name comes from the Latin word for ant), in their bite or sting. It has many industrial uses, in textile and leather manufacture, as an industrial solvent, and as an intermediate.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on formic acid, visit Britannica.com.