ace·​tyl | \ə-ˈsē-tᵊl, ˈa-sə-;ˈa-sə-ˌtēl \

Definition of acetyl 

: the radical CH3CO− of acetic acid often used in combination

Examples of acetyl in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Cocaine, heroin and acetyl fentanyl were found in his system. Mark Curnutte,, "Girl who lost parents to heroin starts over: `I want a family'," 27 June 2018 In 2016, Chinese customs agents seized 70 kilograms of fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl in a cargo container that was bound for Mexico. Kristina Davis,, "Fentanyl has taken over America's drug market. Where is it coming from?," 17 June 2018 The coroner, Jonathan Lucas, said that Mr. Petty’s system showed traces of the drugs fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetyl fentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl. Joe Coscarelli, New York Times, "Tom Petty Died From Accidental Drug Overdose Involving Opioids, Coroner Says," 19 Jan. 2018 Adding the acetyl tag is a natural mechanism used by cells to change the way histone interacts with DNA. Smithsonian, "Instead of Killing Bacteria, Can We Just “Turn Off” Its Ability To Cause Infections?," 14 Dec. 2017 A federal jury convicted Justin Larson, 30, in January after a three-week trial showed Larson distributed acetyl fentanyl on May 9, 2014, to a user who later died, according to the office of the U.S. attorney for Maryland. Washington Post, "Gaithersburg man gets life in drug case," 1 July 2017 Carfentanil was involved in 54 deaths last year and acetyl fentanyl was involved in 43, statistics show., "Heroin and fentanyl killed more people in Cuyahoga County in 2016 than homicides, suicides and car crashes," 24 May 2017 How to read the Hun’s letter without noticeably opening it: mix copper acetyl arsenic with three ounces acetone. Spencer Ackerman, WIRED, "Revealed: Skin Messages, Invisible Ink and More Secret WWI Spycraft," 19 Apr. 2011 Even more powerful drugs, such as carfentanil and acetyl fentanyl, have also been detected in Cuyahoga County., "Heroin and fentanyl killed more people in Cuyahoga County in 2016 than homicides, suicides and car crashes," 24 May 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of acetyl

1864, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for acetyl

borrowed from German Acetyl, from Latin acētum "vinegar" + German -yl -yl — more at acetic acid

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about acetyl

Statistics for acetyl

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for acetyl

The first known use of acetyl was in 1864

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for acetyl


ace·​tyl | \ə-ˈsēt-ᵊl, ˈas-ət-; ˈas-ə-ˌtēl \

Medical Definition of acetyl 

: the radical CH3CO of acetic acid

Comments on acetyl

What made you want to look up acetyl? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


full of whispering sounds

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!