al·​i·​phat·​ic ˌa-lə-ˈfa-tik How to pronounce aliphatic (audio)
: of, relating to, or being an organic compound (such as an alkane) having an open-chain structure compare alicyclic, aromatic sense 2

Examples of aliphatic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Garlic contains aliphatic sulfites, like an onion does. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 18 Oct. 2022 Some of them are organic — aliphatic and aromatic compounds, carboxylic acids, alcohols. Sarah Scoles, Discover Magazine, 22 Jan. 2015 Hide glue creates joints weaker than wood, which may seem like a disadvantage compared with the stronger-than-wood joints made with yellow, or aliphatic, glue, which is more common in woodworking shops these days. Washington Post, 21 Dec. 2020 On earth, propane and butane are examples of aliphatic carbon compounds. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, 28 June 2018 One is a bond that resembles a mothball, called aromatic carbon, while the other resembles grease and is called aliphatic. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, 28 June 2018 The result of this careful analysis is that scientists have conclusively found thiophenic, aromatic, and aliphatic organic compounds on Mars. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 7 June 2018 The signature Dawn spotted appears to be one of aliphatic organic matter— Erin Blakemore, Smithsonian, 17 Feb. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'aliphatic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary, from Greek aleiphat-, aleiphar oil, from aleiphein to smear; perhaps akin to Greek lipos fat — more at leave

First Known Use

1882, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of aliphatic was in 1882

Dictionary Entries Near aliphatic

Cite this Entry

“Aliphatic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition


al·​i·​phat·​ic ˌal-ə-ˈfat-ik How to pronounce aliphatic (audio)
: of, relating to, or being an organic compound (as an alkane or alkene) having an open-chain structure compare alicyclic, aromatic entry 1 sense 2
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