xan·​thate | \ ˈzan-ˌthāt How to pronounce xanthate (audio) \

Definition of xanthate

: a salt or ester of any of various thio acids and especially C3H6OS2

First Known Use of xanthate

1831, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for xanthate

borrowed from French, from (acide) xanthique "any of various thio acids" (from Greek xanthós "yellow" + French -ique -ic entry 1) + -ate -ate entry 1 — more at xantho-

Note: The discoverer of what is now known as xanthic acid, of which xanthate is the salt, was the Danish chemist William Christopher Zeise (1789-1847). (His name is conventionally given in English form; one branch of the Zeise family, which originated in Silesia, established itself in Denmark in the 17th century.) In the earliest published description of the acid and its salts ("Sur l'Acide hydro-xanthique, avec quelques-uns de ses produits et ses combinaisons," Annales de chimie et de physique, tome 21ième [1821], pp. 160-178), Zeise named the radical of the presumed acid xanthogène ("… parce qu'il forme des combinaisons de couleur jaune avec quelques métaux" - "because it forms yellow compounds with certain metals"). He called the acid itself acide hydro-xanthique and the salts hydro-xanthates. In a longer Danish version of the article, published later ("Xanthogensyren med nogle af dens producter og foreninger," Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskabs naturvidenskabeglige eg matematiske afhandlinger, förste deel [1824], pp. 219-76), the equivalent terms are Xanthogen, Xanthogensyre, and Xanthogensyresalte.

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The first known use of xanthate was in 1831

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xanthan gum



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Cite this Entry

“Xanthate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/xanthate. Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for xanthate


xan·​thate | \ ˈzan-ˌthāt How to pronounce xanthate (audio) \

Medical Definition of xanthate

: a salt or ester of any of various thio acids and especially C3H6OS2

More from Merriam-Webster on xanthate

Nglish: Translation of xanthate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about xanthate


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