acetic acid

noun (1)
ace·​tic acid | \ ə-ˈsē-tik- How to pronounce acetic acid (audio) \

Definition of acetic acid

 (Entry 1 of 8)

: a colorless pungent liquid acid C2H4O2 that is the chief acid of vinegar and that is used especially in synthesis (as of plastics)

acetic anhydride

noun (2)

Definition of acetic anhydride (Entry 2 of 8)

: a colorless liquid C4H6O3 with a pungent odor used in organic synthesis (as of cellulose acetate and aspirin)

acetic aldehyde

noun (3)

Definition of acetic aldehyde (Entry 3 of 8)

acetic ester

noun (4)

Definition of acetic ester (Entry 4 of 8)

: any ester of acetic acid especially : ethyl acetate

acetic ether

noun (5)

Definition of acetic ether (Entry 5 of 8)

: acetic ester not now used scientifically

acetic ferment

noun (6)

Definition of acetic ferment (Entry 6 of 8)

: any microorganism or enzyme capable of producing acetic fermentation

acetic fermentation

noun (7)

Definition of acetic fermentation (Entry 7 of 8)

: a process of oxidation in which alcohol is converted into acetic acid by the agency of bacteria of the genus Acetobacter, especially A. aceti (as in the production of vinegar from cider or wine)

acetic nitrile

noun (8)

Definition of acetic nitrile (Entry 8 of 8)

Examples of acetic acid in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Vinegar’s active ingredient, acetic acid, can be produced naturally through bacterial fermentation, as in apple cider vinegar, or industrially, via chemical reactions from such source materials as methanol. Margaret Roach, Good Housekeeping, "Why It Can Be Dangerous to Use Vinegar to Kill Weeds," 15 Aug. 2018 Vinegar’s active ingredient, acetic acid, can be produced naturally through bacterial fermentation, as in apple-cider vinegar, or industrially, via chemical reactions from such source materials as methanol. Margaret Roach, Good Housekeeping, "Why It Can Be Dangerous To Use Vinegar To Kill Weeds," 18 May 2017 But the concentration of acetic acid in this is so high, it should be labeled a poison. Peter Andrey Smith, Outside Online, "Don't Trust the Label on Your Supplements," 5 July 2018 In fact, household products with acetic acid content above 20 percent should be labeled as poisons, but foods and supplements are exempt from such labeling! Houston Chronicle, "10 steps to protect your heart, brain and body from disease and premature aging," 20 May 2018 Buy now: $12; Amazon.com Apple cider vinegar: Vinegar contains acetic acid which helps ease sunburn pain, itching, and inflammation. Allison Young, Good Housekeeping, "Make This DIY Cooling Body Butter To Soothe Sunburned Skin," 7 June 2017 Sobering details: In concentrations over 11 percent, acetic acid can burn skin and cause eye damage, and concentrations of 20 percent and above are corrosive to tin, aluminum, iron, and concrete and can even cause blindness. Margaret Roach, Good Housekeeping, "Why It Can Be Dangerous To Use Vinegar To Kill Weeds," 18 May 2017 Here's what happens: When your tequila shots are absorbed into your body, the alcohol gets metabolized into acetate or acetic acid, according to the National Institutes of Health. Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "5 Ways Your Diet Can Cause Bad Body Odor," 9 May 2018 Vinegar is made of acetic acid, which is a natural disinfectant for killing some common germs like salmonella and E. coli, but is best when used in tandem with antibacterial soap and water to guarantee all germs are killed. Alyse Whitney, Bon Appetit, "18 Places You Should Be Cleaning with Vinegar in Your Kitchen," 18 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acetic acid.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of acetic acid

Noun (1)

1788, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1855, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

1848, in the meaning defined above

Noun (4)

1876, in the meaning defined above

Noun (5)

1788, in the meaning defined above

Noun (6)

1845, in the meaning defined above

Noun (7)

1804, in the meaning defined above

Noun (8)

1882, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for acetic acid

Noun (1)

acetic borrowed from French acétique, from Latin acētum "sour wine, vinegar" (noun derivative from *acētus, verbal adjective of acēre "to be sour," going back to Indo-European h2eḱ-eh1- "to be sharp") + French -ique -ic entry 1

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Time Traveler for acetic acid

The first known use of acetic acid was in 1788

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More Definitions for acetic acid

acetic acid

noun

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

More from Merriam-Webster on acetic acid

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about acetic acid

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