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

If all of Trump’s climate-policy rollbacks succeed, helping natural-gas prices stay very low, methane emissions could increase over the next six years by thirty per cent. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "The Case for Declaring a National Climate Emergency," 11 July 2019 The methane-producing microbes are a particular concern, the researchers note. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Small Temperature Bumps Can Cause Big Arctic Methane Burps," 10 July 2019 The problem is that the LNG boom will create harmful methane emissions — a greenhouse gas that is roughly 30 times more harmful than carbon dioxide emissions. Matt Egan, CNN, "America's liquefied natural gas boom may be on a collision course with climate change," 1 July 2019 The Trump administration has also sought to relax rules on methane emissions, off-shore oil drilling safety and car emissions. Michael Collins, USA TODAY, "Donald Trump claims environmental progress; environmentalists disagree," 7 May 2019 This large, cold moon features a thick, methane-rich atmosphere, mountains of ice and the only surface seas in the solar system beside those on Earth. Sarah Kaplan, Anchorage Daily News, "NASA plans to send a flying robot to Saturn’s moon Titan," 28 June 2019 This large, cold moon features a thick, methane-rich atmosphere, mountains of ice and the only surface seas in the solar system beside those on Earth. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "NASA plans to send a robot to Saturn’s moon Titan," 27 June 2019 Metals, plastic and other packaging are extracted near the start of the process, and the food waste itself is slowly converted to methane gas inside massive holding tanks. Don Stacom,, "Southington plant turns food waste to energy, owners say there’s lot of expansion room," 17 June 2019 Fires caused by the release of methane gas sporadically break out and can take days to contain, all while men, women and children sift through the rubbish looking for items to sell. Helen Regan And Omar Khan, CNN, "India's trash mountains are a fetid symbol of the country's plastic problem," 7 June 2019

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

19 Jul 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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characterized by aphorism

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