Definition of methane
: a colorless odorless flammable gaseous hydrocarbon CH4 that is a product of 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
Recent Examples of methane from the Web
The EPA is revisiting tighter fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks as well as standards that would cut emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from existing municipal solid-waste landfills.
Methane is one of the biggest drivers of climate change, scientists say.
A much more potent warming agent, scientists estimate that methane has 25 times greater impact than CO2 over a 100-year period.
In the meantime, the Trump administration will keep pushing to dismantle domestic climate policies, including the Clean Power Plan to curtail emissions from power plants, and various regulations on methane leaks from oil and gas operations.
The EPA is also moving to rescind rules to prevent methane leaks.
Natural gas still produces greenhouse gases, of course, including when methane leaks during the extraction process.
And sheep, like other ruminants including cattle, produce methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, in their burps.
And some scholars in the field are concerned that creating plankton blooms could release methane and nitrous oxide, which might increase greenhouse gases.
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.
Origin and Etymology of methane
International Scientific Vocabulary
First Known Use: 1867See Words from the same year
METHANE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of methane for English Language Learners
: a colorless gas that has no smell and that can be burned for fuel
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
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up methane? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).