eth·​ane | \ ˈe-ˌthān How to pronounce ethane (audio) , British usually ˈē- \

Definition of ethane

: a colorless odorless gaseous alkane C2H6 found in natural gas and used as a fuel

Examples of ethane in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Crude oil can be converted into naphtha, and gas converted into ethane, which are processed at sprawling industrial compounds into ethylene and plastic resins, then used to create consumer goods like grocery bags and single-use water bottles. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Big Oil’s Evil, Stupid Plan to Drown the World in Plastic," 4 Sep. 2020 Those lakes and seas are filled with liquid methane and ethane. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Bright Patches on Saturn’s Largest Moon Are Dried-Up Lake Beds," 19 June 2020 Cassini also found odd-shaped storms in Saturn’s atmosphere, and material like carbon, methane, ethane, and nitrogen in the atmosphere of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Shannon Stirone, Wired, "Space Photos of the Week: Cassini's Curtain Call," 16 May 2020 The plant takes ethane, a natural-gas byproduct, and breaks apart its molecules, which are then used to make plastic. Peter Eavis, New York Times, "Fracking Once Lifted Pennsylvania. Now It Could Be a Drag.," 31 Mar. 2020 The moon is dominated by hydrocarbons like methane and ethane. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Every Moon in Our Solar System, Ranked," 7 Apr. 2020 Rahm and Sandström’s calculation assumed a purely methane environment, for instance, but Titan’s lakes contain ethane and other features that just might coax the molecules into a soft sheet. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "If life exists on Titan, it’s even weirder than we thought," 5 Mar. 2020 To me, that is more of an existential threat to (new ethane plants) than the basic economics of the oil price dropping. James Bruggers, The Courier-Journal, "Market headwinds buffet Appalachia’s future as a center for petrochemicals," 21 Mar. 2020 Those lakes are filled with methane and ethane rather than water, and any inhabitants would have to deal with temperatures reaching 300 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, but where liquid sloshes, life might find a way. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "If life exists on Titan, it’s even weirder than we thought," 5 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ethane.' 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 ethane

1866, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ethane

International Scientific Vocabulary, from ethyl

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ethane

Time Traveler for ethane

Time Traveler

The first known use of ethane was in 1866

See more words from the same year

Statistics for ethane

Last Updated

17 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ethane.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ethane


eth·​ane | \ ˈeth-ˌān, British ˈē-ˌthān \

Medical Definition of ethane

: a colorless odorless gaseous alkane C2H6 found in natural gas and used especially as a fuel

More from Merriam-Webster on ethane

Nglish: Translation of ethane for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about ethane

Comments on ethane

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!