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 The bill would impose a new fee on excess methane emissions from oil and gas drilling while giving fossil fuel companies access to more leases on federal lands and waters. Lisa Mascaro, Chicago Tribune, 16 Aug. 2022 For example, in New Mexico's Permian Basin, the methane leaking into the atmosphere was equivalent to 9% of the gas production for the region, according to a recent study. Cathy Bussewitz, ajc, 7 July 2022 American producers employ cleaner production methods while autocratic producers are not as effective or interested in limiting leaks of methane and capturing carbon dioxide. Charlie Dent, CNN, 26 June 2022 The report named a wide range of solutions to reduce global emissions, including reducing fossil fuel use; large-scale renewable energy resourcing; improving energy efficiency; and reducing methane and carbon emissions drastically. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 28 Apr. 2022 Russian strikes have targeted fuel depots and refineries across Ukraine, prompting large fires and the release of pollutants including soot, methane and carbon dioxide. Nidhi Subbaraman, WSJ, 24 Apr. 2022 AirCarbon material—a new alternative to leather—involves marine organisms that convert methane and carbon dioxide into a molecule that can then be melted down. Emily Chan, Vogue, 22 Apr. 2022 Cattle and meat-production farms are the source of much methane and carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Manasee Wagh, Popular Mechanics, 5 Apr. 2022 That means dealing with issues like global meat production, which emits methane and carbon dioxide, and is causing rampant deforestation in vital places like the Amazon rainforest. New York Times, 4 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of methane

1867, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for methane

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Time Traveler for methane

Time Traveler

The first known use of methane was in 1867

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Dictionary Entries Near methane



methanesulfonic acid

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Statistics for methane

Last Updated

21 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Methane.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for methane


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

More from Merriam-Webster on methane

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


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