An organic chemical in which one or more hydroxyl (OH) groups are attached to carbon (C) atoms in place of hydrogen (H) atoms. Common alcohols include ethyl alcohol or ethanol (found in alcoholic beverages), methyl alcohol or methanol (can cause blindness) and propyl alcohol or propanol (used as a solvent and antiseptic). Rubbing alcohol is a mixture of acetone, methyl isobutyl ketone, and ethyl alcohol. In everyday talk, alcohol usually refers to ethanol as, for example, in wine, beer, and liquor. It can cause changes in behavior and be addictive. The word "alcohol" has an unlikely origin. It came from the Arabic "al" (the) = "kuhl" (a fine impalpable powder) and referred originally to finely powdered antimony which women used to tint their eyelids.
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1. One of a series of organic chemical compounds in which a hydrogen (H) attached to carbon is replaced by a hydroxyl (OH); alcohols react with acids to form esters and with alkali metals to form alcoholates. For individual alcohols not listed here, see specific name. 2. CH3CH2OH; made from sugar, starch, and other carbohydrates by fermentation with yeast, and synthetically from ethylene or acetylene. It has been used in beverages and as a solvent, vehicle, and preservative; medicinally, it is used externally as a rubefacient, coolant, and disinfectant, and has been used internally as an analgesic, stomachic, sedative, and antipyretic. SYN: ethanol, ethyl a., grain a., rectified spirit, wine spirit. 3. The azeotropic mixture of CH3CH2OH and water (92.3% by weight of ethanol at 15.56°C). [Ar. al, the, + kohl, fine antimonial powder, the term being applied first to a fine powder, then to anything impalpable (spirit)]
- absolute a. 1. 100% a., water having been removed; SYN: anhydrous a.. 2. a. with a minimum admixture of water, at most 1%. SYN: dehydrated a..
- acid a. ethyl a. (70%) containing 1% hydrochloric acid.
- anhydrous a. SYN: absolute a. (1).
- bile a. one of a group of polyhydroxylated alcohols derived from cholestane.
- dehydrated a. SYN: absolute a. (2).
- denatured a. ethyl a. rendered unfit for consumption as a beverage by the addition of one or several chemicals for commercial purposes ( e.g., methanol, aldehol, sucrose octa-acetate). SYN: industrial methylated spirit, methylated spirit.
- dihydric a. a. containing two OH groups in its molecule; e.g., ethylene glycol.
- dilute a. an a. in water mixtures of various concentrations, e.g., 90, 80, 70, 60, 50, 45, 25, and 20% v/v of C2H5OH.
- fatty a. a long chain a., analogous to the fatty acid s, of which the fatty a. may be viewed as a reduction product; e.g., octadecanol from stearic acid. It is often found esterified in waxes. SYN: wax a..
- grain a. SYN: a. (2).
- methyl a. CH3OH; a flammable, toxic, mobile liquid, used as an industrial solvent, antifreeze, and in chemical manufacture; ingestion may result in severe acidosis, visual impairment, and other effects on the central nervous system. SYN: carbinol, methanol, pyroligneous a., pyroligneous spirit, pyroxylic spirit, wood a., wood naphtha, wood spirit.
- monohydric a. an a. containing one OH group.
- multiple a. an a. containing more than one OH group.
- polyoxyethylene alcohols used as emulsifying and wetting agents, antistats, solubilizers, defoamers, and other industrial applications. Laureth 9 as spermaticide; pharmaceutic aid (surfactant).
- primary a. an a. characterized by the univalent radical, —CH2OH.
- pyroligneous a. SYN: methyl a..
- rubbing a. an alcoholic mixture intended for external use; it usually contains 70% by volume of absolute a. or isopropyl a.; the remainder consists of water, denaturants (with and without coal tar colors), and perfume oils; used as a rubefacient for muscle and joint aches and pains.
- secondary a. an a. characterized by the bivalent atom group,
- sugar a. sugar a..
- tertiary a. an a. characterized by the trivalent atom group,
- trihydric a. an a. containing three OH groups; e.g., glycerol.
- unsaturated alcohols those alcohols whose carbon chains contain one or more double or triple bonds.
- wax a. SYN: fatty a..

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al·co·hol 'al-kə-.hȯl n
1 a) ethanol esp. when considered as the intoxicating agent in fermented and distilled liquors
b) drink (as whiskey or beer) containing ethanol
c) a mixture of ethanol and water that is usu. 95 percent ethanol
2) any of various compounds that are analogous to ethanol in constitution and that are hydroxyl derivatives of hydrocarbons

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any of a class of organic compounds formed when a hydroxyl group (-OH) is substituted for a hydrogen atom in a hydrocarbon. The alcohol in alcoholic drinks is ethyl alcohol (ethanol), which has the formula C2H5OH. It is produced by the fermentation of sugar by yeast. 'Pure' alcohol contains not less than 94.9% by volume of ethyl alcohol. It is obtained by distillation. A solution of 70% alcohol can be used as a preservative or antiseptic. When taken into the body ethyl alcohol depresses activity of the central nervous system (see also alcoholism). methyl alcohol (methanol) is extremely poisonous.

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al·co·hol (alґkə-hol) [Ar. al kuhl fine powder of antimony or other distilled substance] 1. any of a class of organic compounds formed from the hydrocarbons by substitution of one or more hydroxyl groups for an equal number of hydrogen atoms; the term is extended to various substitution products that are neutral in reaction and that contain one or more of the alcohol groups. 2. ethanol. 3. [USP] an official preparation of ethanol, used in pharmacy as a disinfectant, solvent, and preservative; applied topically as a rubefacient, disinfectant, astringent, hemostatic, and coolant; and used internally in sclerotherapy and in the treatment of pain, of spasticity, and of poisoning by methyl alcohol or ethylene glycol.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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