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[mer-kap-tan] /mərˈkæp tæn/
noun, Chemistry
any of a class of sulfur-containing compounds having the type formula RSH, in which R represents a radical, and having an extremely offensive, garlicky odor.
Origin of mercaptan
1825-35; < Latin, short for phrase corpus mercurium captāns body capturing quicksilver Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for mercaptan


another name (not in technical usage) for thiol
Word Origin
C19: from German, from Medieval Latin mercurium captans, literally: seizing quicksilver
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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mercaptan in Medicine

mercaptan mer·cap·tan (mər-kāp'tān')
Any of a class of organic compounds in which the oxygen of an alcohol has been replaced by sulfur and which have distinctive, often disagreeable, odors. Also called thiol.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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mercaptan in Science
See thiol.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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