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

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) zones surrounding it are viewed by Washington not as idyllic preserves, like National Parks, but as banks of hydrocarbons waiting for money to be squeezed out of them. Max Holleran, The New Republic, "The Water Wars Are Here," 13 Sep. 2019 Operators are also using thermal imaging cameras that can see invisible plumes of methane and other hydrocarbon gases. Wired, "The EPA Says Methane Rules Are Bad for Industry—It's Wrong," 30 Aug. 2019 In the hydrocarbon industry, for instance, some countries extract while others process. Nicholas Borroz, Quartz India, "There’s much more than national prestige driving India’s ambitious moon mission," 21 Aug. 2019 But now, despite the country's vast hydrocarbon reserves, gas has become harder and harder to find. Stefano Pozzebon And Anggy Polanco, CNN, "Venezuelan teen blinded after 52 rubber pellets to the face," 17 July 2019 Dragonfly will land near Titan’s equator, among dunes composed of solid hydrocarbon snowflakes. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "NASA plans to send a robot to Saturn’s moon Titan," 27 June 2019 What exactly are fatty acids? Fatty acids are long strings of hydrocarbons with a carboxylic acid functional group on one end. A.a. Newton, SELF, "Do You Really Need to Put Fatty Acids on Your Face?," 28 Aug. 2019 Producing oil and gas consumes millions of gallons of water per well, water that is injected deep underground with sand and chemicals to stimulate flows of hydrocarbons. Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, "Historic ranch on Colorado’s high plains now holds millions of gallons of water for Denver-area economic development," 17 Aug. 2019 The facility processes light hydrocarbons including propane and propylene, materials used to make plastic and industrial products. NBC News, "66 people receiving medical attention after ExxonMobil refinery explosion in Texas," 31 July 2019

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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Statistics for hydrocarbon

Last Updated

20 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for hydrocarbon

The first known use of hydrocarbon was in 1826

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on hydrocarbon

Spanish Central: Translation of hydrocarbon

Nglish: Translation of hydrocarbon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hydrocarbon

Comments on hydrocarbon

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


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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