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

Doctors believe that the bacteria in your gut tends to ferment these carbohydrate sugars, creating gases like carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane in the GI tract, Dr. Eugenio says. Colleen Stinchcombe, Woman's Day, "Why Am I Always Bloated?," 29 Oct. 2018 The studies helped buoy the idea of natural gas as an answer to the planet’s climate woes, even though early research hinted that methane could derail that narrative. Jie Jenny Zou Of The Center For Public Integrity, The Seattle Times, "How DC unleashed fossil-fuel exports despite climate worries," 16 Oct. 2018 The ruling on greenhouse gases unleashed a number of Obama-era policies, including the Clean Power Plan to limit carbon pollution at energy plants, emissions standards for cars and trucks, and methane rules on the oil and gas industry. Kurtis Alexander,, "Progress on environment could slow on Supreme Court without Kennedy," 29 June 2018 DeFeo said the Temple sewage should be going to a facility equipped with biogas cogeneration, an anaerobic process in which methane in sewage is made into fuel, making the initiative sustainable. Annabelle Williams,, "Temple's food waste digesters disrupting the industry or just 'shifting the burden'?," 27 June 2018 Rescuers cannot currently go to the site because of high methane levels in the mine. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Major methane study complicates plans of oil and gas industry," 21 June 2018 Humans are pumping at least 25 percent more methane into the atmosphere than previously thought. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "US emissions of methane – a potent greenhouse gas – are 60% higher than EPA thinks," 21 June 2018 Curiosity also detected methane in the Martian atmosphere. Doug Criss, CNN, "5 things for June 8: Trump summits, leak probe, migrants, suicides, Mars," 8 June 2018 But methane can also be produced by normal geologic processes. Amina Khan,, "Curiosity rover's findings on Mars' organic molecules offer tantalizing clues in the search for life on the planet," 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

22 Nov 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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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with methane

Spanish Central: Translation of methane

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

Comments on methane

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a nest or breeding place

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