formic acid

noun
for·​mic acid | \ ˈfȯr-mik- How to pronounce formic acid (audio) \

Definition of formic acid

: a colorless pungent fuming vesicant liquid acid CH2O2 found especially in ants and in many plants and used chiefly in dyeing and finishing textiles

Examples of formic acid in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Instead of becoming a harmless chemical building block, the body metabolizes methanol into toxic formic acid. Carrie Arnold, National Geographic, 19 Aug. 2020 Sharp, slightly vinegary formic acid is the one-carbon volatile acid, a chemical weapon found in ants and other insects but turned against them by the anteater, which relies on it to help digest them. Harold Mcgee, WSJ, 24 Oct. 2020 Both strategies allow the body to excrete the methanol before it’s turned into formic acid. Carrie Arnold, National Geographic, 19 Aug. 2020 Methanol is metabolized to formaldehyde, then to formic acid inside the body. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 6 July 2020 Inside the body, methanol is metabolized to formaldehyde, then to formic acid. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 23 June 2020 Different species might sting their enemies, bite them with powerful jaws or shoot them with jets of formic acid. Cara Giaimo, New York Times, 13 Mar. 2020 Scientists have created a way to convert carbon dioxide, an important greenhouse gas, into formic acid. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, 4 Sep. 2019 Hart tells the Guardian that the birds can appear drunk after eating just a few of the insects, perhaps as a result of the formic acid found in the ants’ bodies. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, 20 July 2019

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

1790, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for formic acid

irregular from Latin formica ant — more at pismire

Learn More About formic acid

Time Traveler for formic acid

Time Traveler

The first known use of formic acid was in 1790

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near formic acid

Formica

formic acid

formic aldehyde

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for formic acid

Cite this Entry

“Formic acid.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/formic%20acid. Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for formic acid

formic acid

noun

Medical Definition of formic acid

: a colorless pungent fuming vesicant liquid acid CH2O2 found especially in ants and in many plants and used chiefly in dyeing and finishing textiles

More from Merriam-Webster on formic acid

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about formic acid

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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