probably from French acétique, from Latin acetum vinegar
First Known Use: 1788
Medical Definition of ACETIC ACID
: a colorless pungent liquid acid C2H4O2 that is the chief acid of vinegar and that is used especially in synthesis (as of plastics) and occasionally in medicine as an astringent and styptic
Most important carboxylic acid (CHCOOH). Pure (glacial) acetic acid is a clear, syrupy, corrosive liquid that mixes readily with water. Vinegar is its dilute solution, from fermentation and oxidation (seeoxidation-reduction) of natural products. Its salts and esters are acetates. It occurs naturally as a metabolic intermediate in body fluids and plant juices. Industrial production is either synthetic, from acetylene, or biological, from ethanol. Industrial chemicals made from it are used in printing and as plastics, photographic films, textiles, and solvents.