noun \ˈme-ˌthān, British usually ˈmē-\

: a colorless gas that has no smell and that can be burned for fuel

Full Definition of METHANE

:  a colorless odorless flammable gaseous hydrocarbon CH4 that is a product of decomposition of organic matter and of the carbonization of coal, is used as a fuel and as a starting material in chemical synthesis, and is the simplest of the alkanes

Origin of METHANE

International Scientific Vocabulary
First Known Use: 1867


noun \ˈmeth-ˌān, British usually ˈmē-ˌthān\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of METHANE

: a colorless odorless flammable gaseous saturated hydrocarbon CH4 that is lighter than air and forms explosive mixtures with air or oxygen, that is a product of decomposition of organic matter in marshes and mines or of the carbonization of coal, and that is used as a fuel and raw material in chemical synthesis—called also marsh gas


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Organic compound, chemical formula CH, colourless, odourless gas that occurs in natural gas (called firedamp in coal mines) and from bacterial decomposition of vegetation in the absence of oxygen (including in the rumens of cattle and other ruminants and in the gut of termites). The simplest member of the paraffin hydrocarbons, methane burns readily, forming carbon dioxide and water if supplied with enough oxygen for complete combustion or carbon monoxide if the oxygen is insufficient. Mixtures of 5–14% methane in air are explosive and have caused many mine disasters. The chief source of methane is natural gas, but it can also be produced from coal. Abundant, cheap, and clean, methane is used widely as a fuel in homes, commercial establishments, and factories; as a safety measure, it is mixed with trace amounts of an odorant to allow its detection. It is also a raw material for many industrial materials, including fertilizers, explosives, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, and carbon black, and is the principal source of methanol.

Variants of METHANE

methane or marsh gas


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