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 Perhaps the most interesting thing about Titan is that organic compounds like hydrocarbons exist there, which means the moon contains materials that could make up life. Wired, "Space Photos of the Week: Terrific, Tantalizing Titan," 23 Nov. 2019 These hydrocarbons rain down on the surface, flow in streams and rivers, accumulate in lakes and seas, and evaporate into the atmosphere. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "First Global Map of Saturn’s Moon Titan Reveals Secrets of Earth’s ‘Deranged’ Twin," 21 Nov. 2019 Microbials can be used in products, but only if they are processed in one of two ways -- the hydrocarbon or carbon dioxide extraction methods, Whitaker said. Laura Hancock, cleveland, "Ohio medical marijuana program issues first mandatory product recall," 15 Nov. 2019 The high temperatures of CVD normally break down complex hydrocarbons at the catalyst surface into atoms or simple molecules, which then self-organize into graphene sheets or crystals such as diamond. W. Wayt Gibbs, Science | AAAS, "The next graphene? Shiny and magnetic, a new form of pure carbon dazzles with potential," 12 Nov. 2019 Production of more oil comes at a time when there is growing acknowledgment by governments and energy investors that not all the hydrocarbons in the ground can be tapped if climate change is to be controlled. Clifford Krauss, New York Times, "Flood of Oil Is Coming, Complicating Efforts to Fight Global Warming," 3 Nov. 2019 America has leverage over Mr Assad: two-thirds of Syria’s hydrocarbons lie outside the regime’s control, mostly in areas where America is the dominant force. The Economist, "A new study slams America for neglecting Syria’s civil war," 26 Sep. 2019 The true goal of Porsche's hybridization efforts is melding electrons with hydrocarbons for maximum performance (and fun). Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid first drive: This plug-in hybrid is a blast," 24 July 2019 Two government ministers in charge of mines and hydrocarbons, the Chamber of Deputies president and three other pro-government legislators announced their resignations. Paola Flores And Carlos Valdez, chicagotribune.com, "Bolivian President Evo Morales resigns amid election-fraud allegations and deadly protests," 10 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for hydrocarbon

Time Traveler

The first known use of hydrocarbon was in 1826

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Statistics for hydrocarbon

Last Updated

29 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Hydrocarbon.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hydrocarbon. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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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

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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

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