ethylene

noun
eth·​yl·​ene | \ˈe-thə-ˌlēn \

Definition of ethylene 

1 : a colorless flammable gaseous unsaturated hydrocarbon C2H4 that is found in coal gas, can be produced by pyrolysis of petroleum hydrocarbons, and occurs in plants functioning especially as a natural growth regulator that promotes the ripening of fruit

2 : a divalent hydrocarbon group C2H4 derived from ethane

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Other Words from ethylene

ethylenic \ˌe-​thə-​ˈlē-​nik, -​ˈle-​nik \ adjective

Examples of ethylene in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Last year, three new Gulf Coast ethylene crackers boosted domestic ethane consumption to 1.2 billion barrels a day, the agency reported. Katherine Blunt, Houston Chronicle, "U.S. ethane consumption expected to boom," 20 Feb. 2018 The best way to keep all of that ethylene from causing your apple to go off too soon is to keep them in the fridge—this will reduce the amount of gas produced, which will help them last longer. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "How to Pick the Best Apples Every Single Time," 12 Sep. 2018 The explosion occurred Saturday morning when one of the plant's production lines leaked ethylene, a highly flammable gas used to make many types of plastics. Katherine Blunt, Houston Chronicle, "Most injured workers released from hospitals after Kuraray explosion," 25 May 2018 Kuraray's Eval plant, located on Bay Area Boulevard, opened in 1986 to produce ethylene vinyl alcohol, a chemical used in food packaging. Katherine Blunt, Houston Chronicle, "Most injured workers released from hospitals after Kuraray explosion," 25 May 2018 Another nearby facility, which the firm has recently expanded, converts the ethylene into plastic resin that is sold worldwide. The Economist, "America’s chemicals industry is booming. But politics may get in its way," 14 Apr. 2018 This will trap the ripening ethylene gases and expedite the process. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "Here's How to Store Pretty Much Any Kind of Produce," 25 June 2018 The hurricane also shuttered almost half of the nation's production of many major chemicals, such as ethylene, which is the primary building block of most plastics. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Motiva won't expand oil refining in Port Arthur," 4 June 2018 To speed the ripening process, place the avocado inside a paper bag with an apple or banana, as both release ethylene gas, which hastens the ripening of the avocado. Susan Russo, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Avocado aficionado: Sam the Cooking Guy," 4 June 2018

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

1849, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

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The first known use of ethylene was in 1849

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More Definitions for ethylene

ethylene

noun
eth·​yl·​ene | \ˈeth-ə-ˌlēn \

Medical Definition of ethylene 

1 : a colorless flammable gaseous unsaturated hydrocarbon C2H4 that is found in coal gas, can be produced by pyrolysis of petroleum hydrocarbons, is used in medicine as a general inhalation anesthetic, and occurs in plants functioning especially as a natural growth regulator that promotes the ripening of fruit

called also ethene

2 : a divalent hydrocarbon group C2H4 derived from ethane

Other Words from ethylene

ethylenic \ˌeth-​ə-​ˈlē-​nik, -​ˈlen-​ik \ adjective
ethylenically \-​ˈlē-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē, -​ˈlen-​i-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on ethylene

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ethylene

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