phytane

noun

phy·​tane ˈfī-ˌtān How to pronounce phytane (audio)
: an isoprenoid hydrocarbon C20H42 that is found especially associated with fossilized plant remains from the Precambrian and later eras

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from German Phytan, from Greek phytón "plant" + German -an -ane — more at phyto-

Note: The German term was introduced by the German chemists Richard Willstätter (1872-1942) and Ferdinand Hocheder (1881-1945) in "Untersuchungen über Chlorophyll III. Ueber die Einwirkungen von Säuren und Alkalien auf Chlorophyll," Justus Liebig's Annalen der Chemie, Band 354 (1907), pp. 217-18.

First Known Use

circa 1907, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of phytane was circa 1907

Dictionary Entries Near phytane

Cite this Entry

“Phytane.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phytane. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

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