meth·ane | \ˈme-ˌthān, 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

The methane gas that is produced as the trash percolates and decomposes is an energy source that is collected by 500 gas wells. Anne Geggis,, "Mount Trashmore, the landfill that's over 20 stories, will grow bigger and taller," 13 July 2018 Grotjan was working in a manhole underground when he was exposed to leaking methane gas, according to a Facebook fundraiser site that was started for him after the accident. Ruth Bruno,, "Waterford Airman Dies After Accident While Serving In United Arab Emirates," 13 July 2018 Concerns arose about fracking’s impact on water and the impact of methane gases leakage on the climate. Russell Gold, WSJ, "The Texas Well That Started the Fracking Revolution," 29 June 2018 The oil and gas industry accounts for at least one-quarter of methane emissions. Zack Colman, Scientific American, "Gas Industry Grapples with Culpability," 29 June 2018 But as the Yadrovo dump overflowed and the organic waste decayed under the topsoil, a mixture of hydrogen sulfide and methane gases enveloped the town during the winter. Washington Post, "A big stink erupts over landfills ringing Russia’s capital," 19 June 2018 Unlike cattle, beans don’t exude methane gas, causing global warming and ruining the environment. John Kass,, "What not to get dad for Father's Day," 15 June 2018 So much trash was dumped near the town of Volokolamsk, 110 kilometers (68 miles) west of Moscow, that a toxic mixture of hydrogen sulfide and methane gases enveloped the town during the winter. Fox News, "World Cup has divisive legacy for Russia's environment," 12 June 2018 Pipe replacements have helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in a reduction of more than 1 million pounds of methane gas over the past three years, BGE said. Lorraine Mirabella,, "BGE proposing natural gas rate increase," 8 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

21 Aug 2018

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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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Comments on methane

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evasion of direct action or statement

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