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[uh-set-l-een, -in] /əˈsɛt lˌin, -ɪn/
noun, Chemistry
a colorless gas, C 2 H 2 , having an etherlike odor, produced usually by the action of water on calcium carbide or by pyrolysis of natural gas: used especially in metal cutting and welding, as an illuminant, and in organic synthesis.
Also called ethine, ethyne.
Origin of acetylene
1860-65; acetyl + -ene
Related forms
[uh-set-l-en-ik] /əˌsɛt lˈɛn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for acetylene
  • The enzyme also speeds up other chemical reactions, including converting acetylene into methane.
  • Natural gas is broken down under high temperatures into acetylene and a liquid-phase step converts the acetylene into ethylene.
  • The idea to limit acetylene torches and similar devices from historic renovation work has caught on among preservationists.
  • It is a common practice in the welding industry to store acetylene in acetone.
  • The inspection of acetylene cylinders is an important safety measure.
British Dictionary definitions for acetylene


a colourless flammable gas used in the manufacture of organic chemicals and in cutting and welding metals. Formula: C2H2 Systematic name ethyne
  1. another name for alkyne
  2. (as modifier): acetylene series
Derived Forms
acetylenic (əˌsɛtɪˈlɛnɪk) adjective
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 acetylene

gaseous hydrocarbon, 1864, from French acétylène, coined by French chemist Marcelin-Pierre-Eugène Berthelot (1823-1907) from chemical ending -ene + acetyl, which was coined from acetic in 1839 by German chemist Justus von Liebig; see acetic. Liebig's coinage was in reference to a different radical; acetyl was transferred to its current sense in 1850s, but Berthelot's coinage was based on the original use of acetyl.

The name acetylene is an unfortunate one as the hydrocarbon is not directly related to the modern acetyl radical and the molecule ... contains a triple bond, not a double bond which the suffix -ene (q.v.) implies. [Flood, "Origins of Chemical Names," 1963]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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acetylene in Medicine

acetylene a·cet·y·lene (ə-sět'l-ēn', -ən)
A colorless, highly flammable, and explosive gas used for metal welding and cutting and as an illuminant.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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acetylene in Science
  (ə-sět'l-ēn', -ən)   
A colorless, highly flammable or explosive gas with a characteristic sweet odor. It is used in welding torches and in the manufacture of organic chemicals such as vinyl chloride. Acetylene is the simplest alkyne, consisting of two carbon atoms joined by a triple bond and each attached to a single hydrogen atom. Also called ethyne. Chemical formula: C2H2.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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