hy·​dro·​car·​bon | \ ˈhī-drō-ˌkär-bən How to pronounce hydrocarbon (audio) \

Definition of hydrocarbon

: an organic compound (such as acetylene or butane) containing only carbon and hydrogen and often occurring in petroleum, natural gas, coal, and bitumens

Examples of hydrocarbon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For decades, Ethiopia has sought to exploit its abundance of hydrocarbon resources, estimated to be as much as 8 trillion cubic liters in crude oil reserves, largely located in the country’s east. Zecharias Zelalem, Quartz Africa, "US businessmen are close to exploiting Ethiopia’s oil plans in a multibillion-dollar scheme," 22 Dec. 2020 This week, a boat loaded with explosives targeted an oil tanker at the Saudi port city of Jeddah, in the latest strike on the country’s hydrocarbon assets. Rory Jones, WSJ, "Saudi Arabia Reins In Spending to Contain Deficit," 15 Dec. 2020 Analysts at Carbon Tracker said BP would have to cut hydrocarbon production by 25% before 2040 to meet the goals set under the Paris Agreement on climate change. Will Mathis, Bloomberg.com, "BP Shows Oil Majors How to Green a Polluting Company," 10 Aug. 2020 Courts aren’t experts in hydrocarbon emissions; unless there’s something obviously wrong with what an agency did, let the agency do it. Jess Bravin And Theo Francis, WSJ, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg and American Business," 22 Sep. 2020 Another Turkish survey ship, Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa, is also conducting seismic work off Cyprus through Nov. 9 as Turkey pushes for a regional conference to discuss a fair share of hydrocarbon resources discovered in the Mediterranean. Selcan Hacaoglu, Bloomberg.com, "Turkey Resumes Mediterranean Survey Amid Tension With Greece," 12 Oct. 2020 Flares are used by refineries to safely burn off excess hydrocarbon gases. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Playgrounds, airport testing, mask outreach: News from around our 50 states," 1 Oct. 2020 It’s adopted by the rest of auto industry to reduce hydrocarbon emissions. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Creator of robots, pollution controls and vaccine spinners, GM R&D enters 2nd century," 13 Sep. 2020 As the age of the hydrocarbon enters its final era, the action increasingly moves to Asia and plastics take center stage. Andres Guerra Luz, Bloomberg.com, "Oil Edges Up With Traders Assessing U.S. Gulf Hurricane Impact," 28 Aug. 2020

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

1826, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for hydrocarbon

Time Traveler

The first known use of hydrocarbon was in 1826

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Statistics for hydrocarbon

Last Updated

6 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hydrocarbon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hydrocarbon. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for hydrocarbon


How to pronounce hydrocarbon (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hydrocarbon

technical : a substance (such as coal or natural gas) that contains only carbon and hydrogen


hy·​dro·​car·​bon | \ ˌhī-drə-ˈkär-bən How to pronounce hydrocarbon (audio) \

Kids Definition of hydrocarbon

: a substance containing only carbon and hydrogen


hy·​dro·​car·​bon | \ -ˈkär-bən How to pronounce hydrocarbon (audio) \

Medical Definition of hydrocarbon

: an organic compound (as acetylene, benzene, or butane) containing only carbon and hydrogen and often occurring in petroleum, natural gas, coal, and bitumens

More from Merriam-Webster on hydrocarbon

Nglish: Translation of hydrocarbon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hydrocarbon

Comments on hydrocarbon

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