meth·​ane | \ ˈme-ˌthān How to pronounce methane (audio) , British usually ˈmē-\

Definition of methane

: a colorless odorless flammable gaseous hydrocarbon CH4 that is a product of biological decomposition of organic matter and of the carbonization of coal, is used as a fuel and as a starting material in chemical synthesis, and is the simplest of the alkanes

Examples of methane in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

And even for distant ice giants swaddled in methane gas, summer means storms. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Hubble Observes Ice Giant Vortexes and Polar Storms on Neptune and Uranus," 9 Feb. 2019 The Curiosity rover is providing additional details of Mars' methane, scientists confirmed Thursday. Fox News, "Massive Mars discovery: Organic molecules 'fundamental to our search for life' found by NASA rover," 2 Oct. 2018 Photo: Jesse Newman/The Wall Street Journal Several peers operate digesters that reduce pathogens in manure and produce methane that can be burned to produce electricity. Jesse Newman And Patrick Mcgroarty, WSJ, "Farms, More Productive Than Ever, Are Poisoning Drinking Water in Rural America," 18 Jan. 2019 Studies consistently show that animal agriculture is the most carbon-intensive type of farming, in part because livestock such as cows and sheep produce methane as part of their digestive processes. Caitlin Dewey,, "The U.S. diet is a climate disaster. Here are 4 fixes that don't involve becoming a vegan.," 11 June 2018 At the sites, researchers found explosively high methane concentrations and chunks of earth littering the periphery for thousands of feet. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, "Something Stirs: What Will Happen as Permafrost Thaws?," 15 May 2018 Former President Barack Obama’s administration set more stringent rules to address methane leaks. Timothy Puko, WSJ, "EPA to Roll Back Obama-Era Methane Rules," 10 Sep. 2018 The Trump administration has lifted some rules designed to address methane leaks. Zack Colman, Scientific American, "Gas Industry Grapples with Culpability," 29 June 2018 The study takes an important step in measuring methane leaks, especially from natural operations. Steven Mufson,, "Methane leaks offset much of the benefits of natural gas, new study says," 21 June 2018

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

1867, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for methane

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Statistics for methane

Last Updated

1 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for methane

The first known use of methane was in 1867

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English Language Learners Definition of methane

: a colorless gas that has no smell and that can be burned for fuel


meth·​ane | \ ˈmeth-ˌān, British usually ˈmē-ˌthān\

Medical Definition of methane

: a colorless, odorless, flammable, gaseous hydrocarbon CH4 that is lighter than air, forms explosive mixtures with air or oxygen, and occurs naturally as a by-product of the decomposition of organic matter by anaerobic bacteria

called also marsh gas

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More from Merriam-Webster on methane

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with methane

Spanish Central: Translation of methane

Nglish: Translation of methane for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about methane

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a shady place in a garden or forest

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