side chain


: a shorter chain or group of atoms attached to a principal chain or to a ring in a molecule

Examples of side chain in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This power is owed in part to its unique structure; the unusually long alkyl side chains of seven carbon atoms give an edge over conventional THC's five-carbon makeup. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 24 Feb. 2023 The alkyl side chain is the driving force behind a cannabinoid's effects on humans. Kristen Rogers, CNN, 3 Feb. 2020 At that resolution, the researchers could make out the side chains of the virus’s proteins, which had been difficult to see in earlier images by other groups. Jaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky, STAT, 26 June 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'side chain.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1873, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of side chain was in 1873

Dictionary Entries Near side chain

Cite this Entry

“Side chain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition

side chain

: a branched chain of atoms attached to the principal chain or to a ring in a molecule

More from Merriam-Webster on side chain

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