Chemistry. a salt or ester of acetic acid.
Also called acetate rayon. a synthetic filament, yarn, or fabric composed of a derivative of the acetic ester of cellulose, differing from viscose rayon in having greater strength when wet and greater sensitivity to high temperatures.
a sheet of clear plastic film fastened over the front of artwork for protection, as an overlay, or the like.
a slow-burning base material, cellulose triacetate, used for motion-picture film to minimize fire hazard during projection, and also for animation cells.

1820–30; acet- + -ate2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
acetate (ˈæsɪˌteɪt)
1.  Systematic name: ethanoate any salt or ester of acetic acid, containing the monovalent ion CH3COO-- or the group CH3COO-
2.  (modifier) consisting of, containing, or concerned with the group CH3COO-: acetate group or radical
3.  acetate rayon short for cellulose acetate
4.  a sound recording disc composed of an acetate lacquer coating on an aluminium or plastic base: used for demonstration or other short-term purposes
[C19: from acetic + -ate1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1827, "salt formed by combining acetic acid with a base," from L. acetum "vinegar" (see acetic) + chemical suffix -ate. As a type of synthetic material, it is attested from 1920, short for acetate silk, etc.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

acetate ac·e·tate (ās'ĭ-tāt')
A salt or ester of acetic acid containing the radical group CH3COO.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
acetate   (ās'ĭ-tāt')  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A salt or ester of acetic acid. Salts of acetic acid contain a metal attached to the acetic acid radical CH3COO. Esters contain another radical, such as ethyl, attached to the acetic acid radical.

  2. Cellulose acetate or a product made from it, especially fibers or film.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
White vinegar can corrode and dissolve some minerals and certain fabrics made of acetate.
The hydrogen is then used to convert ethyl acetate into ethanol.
The bacteria took the remainder of the energy from the acetate, using it for their continued survival and growth.
In the case of polyvinyl acetate, each repeating unit contains an acetate group.
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