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[meth-eyn; British mee-theyn] /ˈmɛθ eɪn; British ˈmi θeɪn/
noun, Chemistry
a colorless, odorless, flammable gas, CH 4 , the main constituent of marsh gas and the firedamp of coal mines, obtained commercially from natural gas: the first member of the methane, or alkane, series of hydrocarbons.
Origin of methane
1865-70; meth- + -ane Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for methane
  • What's more, it will run on methane gas produced from cow manure.
  • These are cooler than other deep-sea vents, rich in organic compounds, and suffused by methane.
  • Grazing animals produce methane through natural fermentation of feed in their guts.
  • When rocks and coal shift, methane seeps out even faster.
  • methane emissions, on the other hand, have no economic utility.
  • Yes, cattle produce methane no matter what they eat.
  • Most methane comes from enteric fermentation--digestive processes.
  • In other words, enteric methane is a solvable problem.
  • For example, every marshy area contains billions of bacteria which eat decaying plant matter and release methane gas.
  • Others, such as nitrous-oxide emissions from soils and methane emissions from animals, cannot.
British Dictionary definitions for methane


a colourless odourless flammable gas, the simplest alkane and the main constituent of natural gas: used as a fuel. Formula: CH4 See also marsh gas, firedamp
Word Origin
C19: from meth(yl) + -ane
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for methane

"inflammable colorless and odorless gas, marsh gas," 1867, coined from methyl + chemical suffix -ane.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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methane in Medicine

methane meth·ane (měth'ān')
An odorless, colorless, flammable gas that is the major constituent of natural gas and is used as a fuel and as an important source of hydrogen. Also called marsh gas.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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methane in Science
A colorless, odorless, flammable gas that is the simplest hydrocarbon. It is the major constituent of natural gas and is released during the decomposition of plant or other organic compounds, as in marshes and coal mines. Methane is the first member of the alkane series. Chemical formula: CH4.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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